Can you smell it?
That’s right, summer is here, and Test cricket is back as Australia prepares to host Pakistan at Perth Stadium on Thursday.
Our expert team has analysed all the form and markets for a mouthwatering clash between the two cricket powerhouses.
AUSTRALIA VS. PAKISTAN
14th December, 1:20pm
Fresh off an incredible ODI World Cup victory over India, the Aussies enter the opening Test as (almost) unbackable $1.30 favourites with BetDeluxe.
Ranked #2 in the world, Andrew McDonald’s men will don the whites for the first time since retaining the Ashes 2-2 in England and winning the ICC Test Final by 209 runs over India. There is set to be little change to the starting XI for the first Test, with David Warner preserving his spot at the top of the order and Mitch Marsh keeping Cam Green on the sidelines as the preferred all-rounder.
While the average age of the Aussie team is certainly higher than in recent years, they still boast four batsmen and four bowlers in the top 10 of the ICC rankings, with Steve Smith (3rd) and Pat Cummins (4th) leading each category. Marnus Labuschagne (5th), Travis Head (6th) and Usman Khawaja (8th) make up the bulk of the home side’s runs and form the most potent batting line-up in world cricket.
As for the $6.50 Pakistanis, they will enter the match fresh off a draw against the Prime Minister’s XI. Captain Shan Masood found form with a dominant 201*, while their star batsman Babar Azam kick-started what could be a fruitful campaign for him with 40.
Despite their underdog status, Pakistan’s most recent Test outing resulted in a 2-0 series sweep of Sri Lanka in July. They dismantled the Lankans by an innings and 222 runs in their final Test but have otherwise only played ODI and T20 cricket for the bulk of 2023.
Azam’s form will be of the utmost importance to the Green Machine’s chances this summer, and they’ll need every bit of his 47.7-run Test average if they are going to compete in any of the three matches. Paceman Shaheen Afridi, who is ranked fifth in the world, should relish the fast-paced bowling conditions in Perth.
David Warner’s position at the top of the order is the only real talking point for the Australians heading into the series. Still, his average of 58.39 in Australia far exceeds his overall Test average (44.43), and we can expect him to recapture his best on his farewell tour.
The Aussies in Perth is a scary proposition for any side, and we can’t see the Pakistanis getting anywhere near them in this one.
Same Game Multi: T. Head Top Australian Batsman @ $2.30