Australia eye fitting end to a stellar year

Australia eye fitting end to a stellar year0

Australia will try to crown a fantastic year with a golden home summer by beating Pakistan in a three-Test series starting in Perth on Thursday as David Warner looks to bow out of the longest format on a triumphant note.

Having won the World Test Championship, regained the Ashes and achieved a record-extending sixth World Cup victory, Pat Cummins’s side get the chance to celebrate with home supporters against a team they have whitewashed in their last five home series.

Home skipper announced a full-strength lineup on Wednesday with the return of off-spinner Nathan Lyon the only alteration from the one who retained the Ashes in the fifth Test against England in August.

Cummins also announced that middle order batter Travis Head, one of the heroes of Australia’s World Cup success, would be one of the team’s vice captains alongside Steve Smith.

“I just think the personality that he brings to the team is something that we all love,” Cummins told reporters.

“He takes the game on and he enjoys it. He’s always got a smile on his face. He never takes things too seriously.

“Sometimes you might mistake that for someone who’s not a deep thinker about the game but I think tactically he’s terrific. So, he’s got all the makings of a really powerful leader.”

Pakistan’s new captain Shan Masood claimed his squad will be out to buck huge odds, and 28 years of history, with a victory over a full-strength Australia.

Masood, who replaced star batsman Babar Azam as skipper following the 50-overs World Cup, agreed Pakistan were short of test match experience but insisted there was no thought of competing for anything less than a win at Perth Stadium.

“You have to be positive,” Masood, an admirer of England’s ‘Bazball’ style of play, told reporters on Wednesday.

“It’s picking your battles, it’s being sensible. It’s about evaluating the requirement of the games and seeing what are the ways we can save time in the game and create a circumstance where capturing 20 wickets would be easy.”

Pakistan has only claimed 20 wickets once in their last eight Tests in Australia dating back to 2009, part of a 14-match losing streak dating back to their last win in November 1995.

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