While Pakistan is still contemplating which of its spinners to take into the match, Australia has named an unchanged side which means Swepson will get another game to exhibit his legspin skills on a slow wicket with experienced off-spinner Lyon.
“Looks (wicket) quite similar,” Australia captain Pat Cummins said. “I can’t say been too much different (wicket) from the other ones, so we feel like we’ve got all bases covered, if needed for a reverse swing or spin later in the game.”
Australia had its chances to go 1-0 up in the series at Karachi, but dropped three crucial catches which eventually led Pakistan to force an epic draw.
Opening batter Abdullah Shafique went on to score 96 in the second innings after Steve Smith dropped a sitter in the slips when the batter was on 20. Babar also got couple of reprieves when Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne dropped the Pakistan skipper on Swepson’s successive deliveries just before tea on the last day.
“It’s a matter of taking those chances,” Cummins said. “Wickets are premium in this series, so you can’t afford to drop too many chances. We tried more than ten chances, but we just unfortunately didn’t take it, that’s going to be a challenge this week.”
The slow nature of the wickets in Pakistan has encouraged Australia to leave out fast bowler Josh Hazlewood for the second successive test match. And Cummins said it was tough to leave out Hazlewood, but believed the reverse swing of Mitchell Starc could help Australia take 20 wickets in the last test.
“Reverse swing is going to be the biggest factor and I thought Starky played fantastic in the last test, taking three wickets in the first innings,” Cummins said.
“It’s always tough leaving out someone like Joshy … but I think the class, the difference that Starky brings as a left armer, a bit more air speed, probably gives us the best chance taking 20 wickets.”
Australia: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins (captain), Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Nathan Lyon.
Pakistan: To be named.