Rain washed out Australia’s final practice session on the eve of Frida’s first Test in Pakistan for 24 years with the team still mulling whether to go into the match with two spinners or with three quicks.
Skipper Pat Cummins told the media on Thursday that they will name the playing XI on Friday morning after having another look at the pitch for the match. The curator has prepared two pitches and the Australians were left guessing on Thursday which of them will be used and how it will behave after being under covers for most of Wednesday and Thursday.
The question that the Aussie think tank on tour is facing is whether they should go into the match with a second spinner or take Nathan Lyon as the sole spinner and three quicks. The selectors are expected to meet on Thursday afternoon and decide the playing XI but the announcement will be only at the toss.
That dilemma resulted in the team failing to announce their playing XI a day before the start of the match like they had done during the recent Ashes series at home.
“Don’t have an XI yet,” Cummins told reporters on Thursday morning. “We’re pretty sure but we just want to have another look at the wicket, which we probably won’t get the chance today,” Cummins was quoted as saying by the Australian media.
“Later this evening, we’ll work out the exact XI, or tomorrow morning,” he added.
Cummins refused to say who has a good chance of joining Lyon in the playing XI should Australia decide to go in with a second spinner, and said both Mitch Swepson and Ashton Agar were “ready to go” if called up.
In case they decide to go in with three quicks, Cummins can turn to Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne to provide leg-spin options. “But two spinners, three quicks, we have a fair idea of what we want to do but don’t want to make the call too early without fully knowing what the wicket is.”
If the visitors decide to go in with three quicks, it would be a toss-up between Josh Hazlewood, Scott Boland and Cameron Green with two of them joining the skipper.