Epic Face-Off: Australia vs. Pakistan at MCG!

Australia-Pakistan Cricket Bond Shines on Christmas Morning in Melbourne

In a heartwarming Christmas exchange, the Pakistan cricket team delivered gifts to Australian players and their families in Melbourne. This thoughtful gesture reflects the close ties formed since Pat Cummins & Co. visited Pakistan 18 months ago, evident during their post-series camaraderie in Lahore.

While off-field bonds strengthen, on the pitch, a notable performance gap emerges, especially in Test formats. Australia, concluding a stellar 2023, faces Pakistan, navigating a transformative phase with a new Test captain post a disappointing World Cup campaign.

Australia, under Cummins’ leadership, plans to cap off 2023 with a strong finish, playing with freedom. In contrast, Pakistan undergoes reinvention, employing unconventional methods during the tour, including a last-minute warm-up game and media avoidance after the Perth Test.

Captain Shan Masood emphasizes sticking to the “Pakistan Way” to bridge gaps with Australia. Overcoming the Australian bowling attack remains a key challenge for Pakistan, who also seek a competitive edge at the MCG. The success hinges on players like Babar Azam and Shaheen Afridi bringing their best versions to the Boxing Day Test.

Match Details:

  • When: Australia vs. Pakistan, 2nd Test, Boxing Day Test, December 26-30, 2023, 10:30 hrs Local Time, 05:00 hrs IST
  • Where: MCG, Melbourne

Weather Forecast:

Melbourne faces rain challenges, impacting the initial Test days. Despite a less green pitch, Australian fast bowlers are expected to shine, posing a challenge for Pakistani batters. The weather forecast, more than the opposition, may influence the Test’s duration.

Team News:

  • Australia: Unchanged XI from the Perth Test, with David Warner in good form.
  • Pakistan: Challenges mount with Khurram Shahzad and Noman Ali’s departures. Sajid Khan may return, and Mohammad Rizwan may replace Sarfaraz Ahmed. Faheem Ashraf is excluded, with choices between Hasan Ali, Mir Hamza, and Agha Salman.

Probable XI: Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Shan Masood (c), Babar Azam, Saud Shakeel, Muhammad Rizwan (wk), Agha Salman, Hasan Ali, Aamer Jamal, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mir Hamza/Sajid Khan.

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https://www.cricbuzz.com/cricket-news/128935/australia-eye-strong-finish-to-a-perfect-year

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