Australia looking to claim Pakistan sweep in Warner Week


Australia looking to claim Pakistan sweep in Warner Week

Warner is bowing out
Warner is bowing outReuters
Australia will go for the tried and tested as they look to sweep Pakistan in their three-match series and send veteran opener David Warner out a winner at his home ground in his final test this week.

Pat Cummins confirmed on Tuesday that the same team that won the first test in Perth by 360 runs and the second in Melbourne by 79 runs would take the field for the final clash at Sydney Cricket Ground on Wednesday.

The Australia captain said that Warner, who has sometimes divided opinion even in his own country, fully deserved to end his test career on his own terms in his 112th match in the longest format.

"Warner Week has started," Cummins told reporters. "I think he's our greatest three-form player.

"Three formats over a decade, two 50-over World Cups, one T20 World Cup and in all those campaigns he was front and centre and a big reason for it. Playing more than 100 tests puts him in an elite category in all three formats.

"Every time he walks out there, he's competitive, ready to go, so just a champion of Australian sport and hopefully he gets a good send-off this week."

Warner said on Monday that he would be also retiring from one-day internationals, leaving a big gap at the top order for Australia to fill in two formats.

Cummins gave few clues as to who is leading the running to open for the two tests against West Indies in January, although he did cite Warner's current partner Usman Khawaja as an example of a non-specialist who forced his way into the team.

Pakistan captain Shan Masood has a different set of problems to contemplate as he looks to motivate a team that was mauled in the opener and failed to exploit their opportunities to level the series in the second test.

Masood has already made it clear that he is a skipper who looks more on the positives and felt the fact that Pakistan had been competitive at times in Melbourne augured well.

"I thought we played some very good cricket," he said. "But look, we're playing the best side in the world ... and if you give them a sniff, they will pounce on any opportunities.

"We have to make sure that we're not making a lot of mistakes to close out games."

Pakistan have dropped opener Imam-ul-Haq and rested pace spearhead Shaheen Afridi, bringing in Saim Ayub, who will make his test debut, and off-spinner Sajid Khan.

Spinner Abrar Ahmed failed a fitness test and will return home without playing a test on this tour.

While Australia are planning a winning farewell for Warner, Masood said the tourists would be happy to play party poopers.

"It's a big occasion for him and the Australian cricket team but our job is to get David Warner out early," he said.

"But we wish him all the best with this test match and what's to come forward for him as well."


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