Pakistan off to steady start in first Test against Australia


Australia will also be under pressure to overcome the loss of their regular captain Steve Smith and dashing opener David Warner along with Cameron Bancroft after they were banned for up to a year for their part in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in March. This is the first time that the Aussies are playing with three debutants in a Test in Asia.

While the Australians have been disciplined in their lines, there is literally no help for them from the surface.

Pakistan are off to a slow, steady start with Mohammad Hafeez and Imamul Haq up to bat. The former has also notched up his 10th century in the whites announcing his comeback to the arena after two years.

They lost 2-0 to Pakistan in UAE in 2014, with Yasir taking 12 and left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar 14 wickets. "Yasir is our main bowler so we will want him to attack and get us wickets to win the series".

Hafeez, a late inclusion in the squad after a double hundred in a domestic match, hit 126 off 208 balls while fellow opener Imam-ul-Haq scored 76 off 188 after Pakistan won the toss and made a decision to bat on a flat Dubai Stadium pitch.

Hafeez's action was cleared as legal in May this year and could prove unsafe for Australian left-handers.

Sarfraz said Australia's challenge would to improve their performance in Asia.

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"Yasir is clearly a world-class bowler who's got a phenomenal record at this ground in Dubai".

"We've faced a hell of a lot of spin, there's no doubt about that and Australian touring sides always do", said Paine.

Australia handed Test caps to Aaron Finch, Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne while Pakistan included off-spinner Bilal Asif for his first Test at the age of 33, backing up leg-spinner Yasir Shah.

Sriram brought two Indian wrist spinners, Pardeep Sahu and left-arm wrist spinner KK Jiyas, to UAE for net practice ahead of the Tests.

Finch, Head, Marnus Labuschagne and Michael Neser are all likely to make Test debuts in Dubai.

The second Test is in Abu Dhabi starting on 16 October.