Newcomer Saim Ayub will play instead of Imam-Ul-Haq, and Shaheen Shah Afridi will take a break, allowing off-spinner Sajid Khan to join the team.
Pakistan captain Shan Masood won the coin toss and decided to bat in the third Test against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Wednesday, with clear skies overhead.
This marks the 112th Test match at the historic SCG, and it’s a significant occasion as it’s also the 112th and last Test for Australian opening batsman David Warner.
“Let’s aim for a strong first innings score and assess the situation from there,” Masood expressed at the toss.
After much talk and uncertainty about his spot in the team, Warner will receive the farewell he hoped for in his hometown.
Warner, at 37, enters his last Test with an impressive record of 8,695 runs at an average of 44.58, including 26 centuries and 36 half-centuries.
Australia captain Pat Cummins, commenting on the conditions, remarked, “The pitch seems promising, and the sun is shining today, which is good. If I had won the toss, I would have chosen to bat as well.”
“It’s not common for us to face the same team in three consecutive games, but everyone is feeling positive despite the quick turnaround.
“David enjoys batting at the SCG, and I’m confident the crowd will support him. Hopefully, we can make it a memorable experience for him.”
Pakistan has made two changes to the team. Saim Ayub will make his Test debut, opening the innings in place of Imam-Ul-Haq. Additionally, the pace attack leader, Shaheen Shah Afridi, has been given a rest, making room for off-spinner Sajid Khan.
“We’re thrilled about Saim Ayub; we believe he’s a batsman who will set the tone for Pakistan’s batting in the future. We’re excited to see him face a strong bowling attack,” said Masood.
Australia secured victory in the three-match series with a nail-biting 79-run win in the second Test in Melbourne over the Christmas period.
The Sydney Test has often been affected by rain, experiencing 26 washed-out days, the highest among Australian Test venues. However, this week, there’s only a moderate chance of showers.
In the last five Sydney Tests, spinners have been successful, taking 54 wickets at an average of 44.02.
David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Mitchell Marsh, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins (capt), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood
Saim Ayub, Abdullah Shafique, Shan Masood (capt), Babar Azam, Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Rizwan, Agha Salman, Sajid Khan, Hasan Ali, Mir Hamza, Aamer Jamal
Richard Illingworth (ENG), Joel Wilson (WIS)
Michael Gough (ENG)
Javagal Srinath (IND)