Aussies consider four quicks in Gabba line-up
NATHAN Lyon has a better strike rate for wickets at the Gabba than Shane Warne, but the spinner could be sacrificed if Australia opts for a four-pronged pace attack for the first Test of the three-match series against Pakistan starting this afternoon.
Lyon has taken a wicket every 46 balls - Warne's record was a wicket every 48 balls - at the Gabba, where he has taken 24 wickets at an impressive average of 23.95.
But despite that impressive record, Australia has delayed naming its starting XI for the second day-night Test of the summer, with selectors deciding on whether Chadd Sayers should join Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Jackson Bird, instead of Lyon.
Skipper Steve Smith expected Bird to keep his place following the win in Adelaide over South Africa, leaving Lyon and Sayers to fight for the final spot.
"We want to have another look at the wicket,” Smith said.
"I'm not sure yet, I need to have another look to determine how much grass is on the wicket and things like that.
"Pakistan have a lot of right-hand batters, which might come into the equation. We'll wait and see.”
Curator Kevin Mitchell jnr expected pace bowlers to dominate, saying: "If we do get some humid weather it might be a surprise (it lasts five days).
"It's not beyond the realms of possibility.
"I think probably bat first, given the conditions.”
Lyon had been under pressure after Australia's run of five straight Test defeats in Sri Lanka and at home to South Africa.
Pakistan will also be feeling the pinch after coming off a 2-0 series loss in New Zealand, not to mention not having won a Test in Australia since 1995 and only winning four Tests in total out of 32 played Down Under.
The tourists have lost their last nine Tests in Australia, while the home side has not lost a five-day clash at the Gabba since 1988 (27 Tests).
However, Pakistan does boast an impressive bowling attack itself, with the likes of left-arm pacemen Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir and Rahat Ali set to cause problems with the pink ball, along with leg-spinner Yasir Shah if he's fit.
Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq said he did not expect any sledging problems for Amir on his first visit to Australia since being banned for five years for spot fixing after deliberately bowling no-balls at Lord's in 2010.
Amir was given a rough time in New Zealand in his return to international cricket in January but was spared the same treatment from England fans during the tour there in July, and the Kiwi public laid off him during the recent Test series.
Misbah expected the same in Australia.
"I don't think we have any problems with that (sledging),” he said.
"We thought it could be worse in England and be very difficult for him but the tour went very well for him and most of the crowd was supportive.
"There wasn't any problems and, even in New Zealand, we didn't face any problems with Mohammad Amir.
"He did okay and the crowd was not rash or something like that.”
AUSTRALIA (from): Matt Renshaw, David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Peter Handscomb, Nic Maddinson, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Starc, Chadd Sayers, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird
PAKISTAN (from): Misbah-ul-Haq, Azhar Ali, Sami Aslam, Sharjeel Khan, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Rahat Ali, Sohail Khan, Imran Khan
HEAD TO HEAD:
OVERALL: Total 59: Australia 28 wins, Pakistan 14 wins, 17 draws
IN AUSTRALIA: Total 32: Australia 21 wins, Pakistan 4 wins, 7 draws
LAST SIX MATCH-UPS
2014 Pakistan won by 356 runs (Abu Dhabi)
2014 Pakistan won by 221 runs (Dubai)
2010 Pakistan won by three wickets (Leeds)
2010 Australia won by 150 runs (Lord's)
2010 Australia won by 231 runs (Hobart)
2010 Australia won by 36 runs (Sydney)
HAPPY HUNTING GROUND
AUSTRALIA has enjoyed a run of 27 successive Tests without a defeat at the Gabba. Its last loss was in November 1988 when the West Indies won by nine wickets. Since then, Australia has won 20 out of 27 Tests in Brisbane, with seven draws. The most recent draw was against South Africa in 2012; since then Australia has beaten England (by 381 runs), India (four wickets) and New Zealand (208 runs). David Warner has been the catalyst, averaging 63 at the venue. In nine innings he has scored 506 runs, including three hundreds, two - 163 and 116 - against New Zealand last summer.