SYDNEY, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Pakistan won the toss and chose to bat first in the opening test of the two-match series against Australia at the Gabba in Brisbane on Thursday.
The tourists, who have never won a series in Australia, will give a test debut to schoolboy fast bowler Naseem Shah despite the 16-year-old having only played seven first class matches.
Naseem is the youngest player to make his test debut in Australia, bettering the record held since 1953 by local Ian Craig.
Pakistan selected the same team that played their final tour match with 14-test seamer Mohammad Abbas left out to make way for an inexperienced pace attack.
“There’s a bit of grass on the pitch but it looks a good pitch to bat on especially if you get through the new ball then there will be lots of runs in it,” said captain Azhar Ali.
“It was difficult to leave out Mohammad Abbas but sometimes form can take over and we know he’s very good and our number one bowler but at the moment these three pacers are doing the job and we picked them.”
Australia, unbeaten at the Gabba since 1988, included Joe Burns as opening partner for David Warner, while Mitchell Starc took the third slot on the pace bowling unit with Cameron Bancroft and all-rounder Michael Neser missing out.
“I would have liked to have batted but if we get it right there’s always something in it at the Gabba,” said captain Tim Paine.
Australia: David Warner, Joe Burns, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Matthew Wade, Tim Paine (captain), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood
Pakistan: Shan Masood, Azhar Ali (captain), Haris Sohail, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Yasir Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Imran Khan, Naseem Shah. (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Pritha Sarkar)