|Australia||$1.27 at Sportsbet|
|Draw||$9 at Ladbrokes|
|Pakistan||$7.50 at Bet365|
First Test – November 21-25 at Brisbane Cricket Ground (Gabba)
Australia will hope history repeats this summer when they take on Pakistan in a two-match Test series which kicks off in Brisbane this Thursday.
The Aussies have never lost a home Test series against the Pakistanis, who have not won a long-form match on these shores since taking out a dead rubber at the SCG in 1995. The two captains back then were Mark Taylor and Wasim Akram, while the likes of David Boon, Craig McDermott, Saleem Malik and Rameez Raja were still going around.
In a bid to address that abysmal record, and several other disappointments, the Pakistan Cricket Board has shaken things up. Sarfaraz Ahmed lost his captaincy and his place in the side after a troubled Cricket World Cup campaign, with Azhar Ali taking over the reins. Misbah-ul-Haq, the new coach and chief selector, has also opted for a trio of teenage quicks in Musa Khan, Naseem Shah and Shaheen Afridi.
SEE ALSO: AUSTRALIA vs PAKISTAN 2019 BETTING GUIDE
Of those newcomers, Naseem is the standout. At only 16 years of age, the Central Punjab prodigy is tipped to make his Test debut at the Gabba after impressing with a fiery spell against a star-studded Australia A team in Perth earlier this month.
Australia, meanwhile, will be missing one of their own weapons as James Pattinson serves a ban for misconduct in a domestic game. That means the NSW quartet of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Starc will fill out the Aussie attack after the latter was used only sparingly on the recent Ashes tour.
The first few rounds of the Sheffield Shield served up more questions than answers regarding the makeup of the Australian batting order. Joe Burns and Cameron Bancroft did enough to make the 14-man squad, but Marcus Harris and Usman Khawaja failed to impress the selectors. Travis Head also earned a reprieve after losing his place to Mitchell Marsh in fifth Test of the Ashes series.
Tim Paine’s long-term prospects were questioned on several occasions during the UK tour. After notching a rare century in the Shield, however, the Test captain looks set to see out the summer as ODI keeper-bat Alex Carey waits in the wings.
Steve Smith top runscorer odds and tips
- Top Australia batsman – $3 at Ladbrokes
- To score a century – $3 at Bet365
- Man of the match – $6 at Bet365
Having announced his return to international cricket with 774 runs in only seven Ashes innings, Steve Smith enters the southern summer as the world’s form player. He is the glue that holds Australia’s batting order together, while a pair of Shield centuries either side of two dazzling T20 knocks show he is as hungry for runs as ever.
Australia vs Pakistan top wicket-taker betting
Pat Cummins – Hazlewood has the history at the Gabba and Starc can do anything on his day, but Cummins is the most reliable of Australia’s pacemen. The New South Welshman takes all sorts of wickets, which is a handy trait when playing on good batting pitches. Get on Pat for top Aussie bowler in the first innings at $3.50 with Sportsbet.
Mohammed Abbas – The teenagers have stolen the headlines, but Abbas is the danger man in the Pakistani attack. The late-blooming seamer has 66 wickets in only 14 Test appearances, and at an impressive average of 18.86 runs per dismissal. Sportsbet’s $4 top wicket-taker odds for Abbas are well overs compared to other online bookies.
Australia vs Pakistan stats and trends
- Pakistan’s last Test victory on Aussie soil was at Sydney in December 1995
- Australia have not lost a Gabba Test since going down to the West Indies in 1988
- Steve Smith has scored tons in three of his last four Tests in Brisbane
Australia vs Pakistan 1st Test predictions
Steve Smith top batsman/Australia to win – $3.75 at Ladbrokes
It is now 31 years since Australia lost a Test match at Fortress Brisbane. Pakistan came mighty close to ending that streak when they visited three years ago, but their new-look squad is loaded with unknowns. The fresh faces will have to display super-human powers of adaptation to outplay the Aussies at their favourite venue first up.
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