MELBOURNE : Australia named an unchanged XI for the Boxing Day test against Pakistan, but the visiting side replaced veteran stumper Sarfaraz Ahmed with Mohammad Rizwan for the second match of the three-test series.
Scott Boland missed out in his home ground as Australia retained the pace trio of captain Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, who bowled them to a comprehensive win in the opening test in Perth.
“We’re a huge fan of Scotty, I don’t think that’s a secret,” Cummins told reporters on Monday.
“It’s very rare that you’re going to get through seven test matches with the same (fast) bowling line-up. There’s always niggles or things that pop up.
“He’s ready to go if anything happens, so I’m sure he’ll play a part at some point.
“The message (to Boland) is always ‘We love what you’re bringing, unfortunately you miss out on this one but don’t change… and stay ready’.”
Pakistan would announce their playing XI only at the toss on Tuesday but Sarfaraz has been dropped after managing seven runs in Perth.
Skipper Shan Masood said Rizwan, an attacking batter, needed time to shift to red-ball cricket, which was a key reason in playing Sarfaraz in the opening test.
“We think Rizwan is ready and we can give Sarfaraz a little bit of a break to recoup and come back,” Masood told reporters.
“It was more of a tactical decision in terms of the conditions and getting the best out of each player in those conditions.”
Pakistan’s bowling looked drained as they seek to level the series in Melbourne.
Noman Ali has been ruled out of the last two matches having undergone appendicitis surgery, while fellow spinner Abrar Ahmed will continue to sit out with a leg injury he suffered during a tour game.
With a recovering Naseem Shah still not fit for action and Haris Rauf opting out of the series, the lack of firepower in their pace attack has also been a major worry for Pakistan.