Third Test preview: AUS v PAK
This dead rubber will have significance for both teams with Australia keen to keep their momentum going while Pakistan need a win to rebuild their confidence.
The turning pitch at the SCG may give Pakistan the lifeline they so desperately need in this series after the disaster in Melbourne.
Both the batting and bowling units have shown promise for Pakistan but a lack of application and discipline has cost them and coach Mickey Arthur will not be happy.
Australia will be trying out a new combination and on a spin-friendly wicket with an India tour looming it will be interesting to see how they go.
Hilton Cartwright comes in for Nic Maddinson at six with his bowling prowess a boost for the tiring fast bowling pair of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.
Steve O’Keefe is back in the squad for the first time since limping out of the Sri Lanka tour with a hamstring injury and his resilience will be under scrutiny with another injury breakdown likely to spell the end of his international career
Steve Smith has been in imperious form and it’s hard to predict how Australia will do if he doesn’t fire.
For Pakistan Misbah-ul-Haq will need to lead from the front, his batting needs to improve for his team to do well.
The spinners of both sides will be crucial on the turning SCG pitch with both teams flirting with dual spin for the first time in the series. Nathan Lyon will have to lead Australia while Yasir Shah will do the same for Pakistan.
Last five head-to-head results
2016 Second Test: Australia won by an innings and 18 runs at the MCG
2016 First Test: Australia won by 39 runs at the Gabba
2014 Second Test: Pakistan won by 356 runs in Abu Dhabi
2014 First Test: Pakistan won by 221 runs in Dubai
2010 Second Test: Pakistan won by 3 wickets at Headingley
Australia XI: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Matthew Wade (wk), Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Matt Renshaw, Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Lyon, Steve O’Keefe, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood
Pakistan squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Azhar Ali, Sami Aslam, Sharjeel Khan, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Mohammad Rizwan, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Rahat Ali, Sohail Khan, Imran Khan
Dates: 3-7 January
Morning session: 10:30-12:30 (23:30-01:30 GMT)
Afternoon session: 13:10-15:10 (02:10-04:10 GMT)
Evening session: 15:30-17:30 (04:30-06:30 GMT)
Umpires: Richard Illingworth and Sundaram Ravi
TV Umpire: Ian Gould
Match Referee: Ranjan Madugalle
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