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Australia ponder pace quartet for Pakistan opener

Australia ponder pace quartet for Pakistan opener
December 14, 2016
MELBOURNE - Australia may unleash an all-pace attack against Pakistan for the series-opening day-night test in Brisbane, home captain Steve Smith said. Smith expects fast bowler Jackson Bird, recalled for the last test against South Africa, to hold his place in the 11, meaning debutant paceman Chadd Sayers could edge out spinner Nathan Lyon for the match starting at the Gabba on Thursday. "We want to have another look at the wicket today... to determine how much grass is on the wicket and things like that," Smith told reporters in Brisbane at the pre-match media conference on Wednesday. "Jackson will probably play, he played the last game and played pretty well so I dare say he will play." The Gabba wicket, which traditionally offers pace and bounce, had a layer of grass on the eve of the venue's first day-night test. Cloudy conditions are also forecast at the end of the week which could make the pink ball swing as both sides hope to eke out an early advantage in the three-test series. Curator Kevin Mitchell suggested the match might not last the full five days if the weather was humid. "It's not beyond the realms of possibility," he told reporters. Lyon took four wickets to help a re-jigged Australia side beat the Proteas in the day-night match in Adelaide, a return to form for the off-spinner after he struggled in defeats at Perth and Hobart as South Africa claimed a 2-1 series win. Pakistan's batsmen took Lyon apart in a 2-0 series loss for Australia in the United Arab Emirates two years ago but the spinner has an excellent record in Brisbane and has not missed a test there since his debut in 2011. "So I'll leave you guys to write that, that there's going to be four quicks and stuff," Lyon said earlier in the week. "I'm confident of playing, I'll put it that way." Australia have not lost a test at the Gabba since 1988 when they were beaten by Viv Richards' West Indies. -Reuters
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