Pakistan vs Australia: Mitchell Starc set to play third Test

Mitchell Starc

Indications from the Australia camp are that Mitchell Starc will play the third Test against Pakistan in Lahore.

The final Test of the series will prove to be the decider after the sides played out successive draws on batting friendly surfaces.

Starc’s ability to get the ball to reverse swing, which is especially prevalent in Pakistan, makes him a key member of the attack and one they cannot afford to do without.

Mitchell Starc looking good for third Test

Interim Australia coach Andrew McDonald said that the players would have a light workload between Tests.

“My assumption is if he pulls up well, he’ll definitely get another crack in the last Test,” McDonald said of Starc.

“We have four days (off). We’ll have a light lead-in into the next Test match around our quicks, there is no doubt about that. We think we’ve really got some strong bench strength as well. We’ve got some options with the guys who haven’t played and are well prepared.”

Surface to dictate Josh Hazlewood involvement

Meanwhile a return to the team for Starc’s oft partner in crime, Josh Hazlewood will hinge on the surface at the Gaddafi Stadium.

McDonald praised leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson for his performance on debut despite him not taking a wicket in Pakistan’s second innings.

“We’ll look at the surface every time,” McDonald said.

“When we get there we’ll see how (Swepson) pulls up. He created opportunities for us and that’s what leg-spinners can do. I thought he bowled well throughout the game and (it was an) impressive debut. He waited a long time for that debut and held his own. Incredibly positive first Test match from our point of view.

“We’ll assess the conditions and try and make the right decisions around the best team for that surface. Does that include Mitch Swepson? We’ll have to wait and see when we land on the ground.”

Have Australia got it right?

Australia have plotted for a 15 day series that goes to the wire and are now five days away from pulling off a tactical masterstroke or ending up with egg on their faces.

McDonald defended Australia’s approach to the series.

“I think the debate is around the opportunities that you create in Test matches,” he said.

“On the fifth day on flat surfaces, we have created opportunities for ourselves and unfortunately haven’t been able to take them. But if we keep putting yourself in those situations continually … we have good confirmation that the style of cricket that we want to play is going to hold up.

“I think it’s confirmation that the style of cricket that we set out to play in Pakistan will hold up. We said it was going to be a 15-day Test series (and) we’re 10 days in.

“We gave ourselves a real good look at the last Test match. And you’ve got to do something extraordinary to get a look in I think that was built on the back of day three’s bowling performance.

“It’s to Pakistan’s credit, especially the captain Babar having an incredible innings to deny us.

“Morale is very good and positive and we know what we need to do coming into the last Test match.”