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How quickly guys can adapt to different conditions is more important, says Pakistan captain Shan Masood

Perth Stadium has been a happy hunting ground for Lyon in the past: he has taken 22 wickets in three Tests at an average of 18.45

Our Bureau Perth Published 14.12.23, 07:18 AM
Captains Shan Masood and Pat Cummins with the series trophy on Wednesday, ahead of the first Australia-PakistanTest at the Optus Stadium in Perth.

Captains Shan Masood and Pat Cummins with the series trophy on Wednesday, ahead of the first Australia-PakistanTest at the Optus Stadium in Perth. Getty Images

Nathan Lyon’s quest for his 500th Test wicket will be one of the individual features of the series opener between Australia and Pakistan, beginning Thursday at Perth Stadium.

The 36-year-old off-spinner goes into the match with 496 wickets, poised to join Sh­ane Warne (708) and Glenn McGrath (563) as the only Australians to take 500 wickets in Test cricket.

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Perth Stadium has been a happy hunting ground for Lyon in the past: he has taken 22 wickets in three Tests at an average of 18.45.

This will be the opening Test of Australia’s home summer, the first international match Australia’s all-conquering side will play since claiming both the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) and ODI World Cup overseas in the last six months.

Pat Cummins and his team are aware of the reality and know they have to maintain their standards.

“Growing up, I remember some of the great battles of seeing Shoaib Akhtar charging in or some of the tussles against some of the other South African teams and West Indian teams growing up,” Cummins said.

“So it’s not always India and the Ashes in my mind that are the big ones. But I can only speak as a player and every Test match is huge. You want to play against players that you haven’t played against a lot. These guys, probably half the team we haven’t played against or certainly not in Australian conditions.”

As the new WTC cycle begins for Australia’s conquering heroes, at stadiums or
not, the fans will be following their progress.

For the second time in as many tours to Australia, Pakistan — who last won a Test in Australia in 1995 — have decided to go into the opener with a relatively inexperienced bowling attack.

Fast bowlers Aamer Jamal and Khurram Shahzad will both make their Test debuts, with Shaheen Shah Afridi leading the attack. This is in keeping with the green wicket in Perth.

That leaves no room for Hasan Ali or any specialist spinner, with Noman Ali sitting out in favour of batter and part-time spinner Agha Salman. All-rounder Faheem Ashraf will bat at No.8, with Pakistan opting for batting depth over a spinner.

“As a team, we talked about adaptability. Whether we play in Canberra, whether we play in Karachi, whether we play in Perth, how quickly guys can adapt to different conditions is more important for me. Good cricketers are always adaptable. They adapt very quickly to conditions,” Pakistan captain Shan Masood said.“... On a broader perspective, there’s the WTC. So every Test match, every point counts.”

Written with AP/PTI inputs

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