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Aussies mull four-prong Test pace attack

AAP logoAAP 14/12/2016 Rob Forsaith

The day-night Test between Australia and Pakistan that starts in Brisbane on Thursday will be a clash of contrasts.

Pakistan will be marshalled by 42-year-old captain Misbah-ul-Haq and 39-year-old batsman Younis Khan.

Australia fielded the nation's youngest Test XI since 1986 in Adelaide. They are giving serious consideration to dropping the most-experienced member of that side, Nathan Lyon.

Steve Smith revealed in his pre-match media conference that swing specialist Chadd Sayers was on the cusp of a Test debut, with offspinner Lyon at risk of being axed for the first time since the 2013 Ashes.

"I'm not sure yet," Smith said.

"I need to have another look at the wicket to determine how much grass is on the wicket ... Pakistan have a lot of right-hand batters which might come into the equation."

Smith added he expected Jackson Bird to retain his spot in the team, leaving Sayers locked in a battle with Lyon for the final berth.

Lyon regards the Gabba as one of his favourite grounds, relishing the extra bounce on offer.

Lyon's Test record in Brisbane is an impressive 24 wickets at 23.95. The spinner has taken a wicket every 46 deliveries he has bowled at the venue, a better Gabba strike rate than Shane Warne.

"I am confident of playing - I will put it that way," Lyon said earlier this week, giving short shrift to a question about the prospect of an all-out pace attack.

Pakistan, like Australia, have tumbled down the International Cricket Council's rankings after claiming top spot earlier this year.

They are seeking to snap a three-Test losing streak but there will be no wholesale changes to the tourists' XI.

"In Test cricket, experience can play a big role, because you have been in those situations before and you know how to control the game," Misbah said.

Misbah will hope his left-armers Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz produce unplayable swing bowling with the pink ball under lights, as Smith will with Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.

But there is no risk of Pakistan dropping Yasir Shah, regarded by some as the sport's greatest legspinner since Warne.

Yasir was in doubt for the game because of a back injury but Misbah confirmed the tweaker was close to "100 per cent fitness" and ready to bamboozle Australia, as he did in 2014 on Test debut.

"He's a wonderful bowler ... who can make his impact in any sort of conditions, especially in Australia where bounce can play a big role," Misbah said.

"Shane Warne was very successful in Australian conditions because of the bounce."

Yasir snagged seven wickets on Test debut, notably dismissing Smith twice to pilot Pakistan to an emphatic 221-run win in Dubai.

"We're going to have to be wary of him in this series," Smith said.

"He's a class bowler. He's pretty accurate."

Australia haven't lost a Test at the Gabba since 1988, while no side hailing from the subcontinent has won a Test series in Australia.

"Traditionally, subcontinent sides that come over to Australia don't handle the pace and bounce, or aren't as comfortable with the pace and bounce," Smith said.

"So you need to try and find ways to exploit that as much as possible ... I'm sure we're going to see some short-pitched bowling."

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