Thu, Oct 4, 8:56am by Head Editor
Justin Langer will coach his first Test when Australia takes on Pakistan in the UAE on Sunday night Australian Time but he won’t be the only fresh face in the lineup.
It’s been just over six months since captain Steve Smith, vice captain David Warner and opening batsman Cameron Bancroft were banned for their role in the now infamous ball tampering including in South Africa and Australian cricket is a long way from putting that behind them.
Langer was appointed coach of the side in May and he and new skipper Tim Paine have gone about rebuilding the image of the team, that suffered a massive hit in the aftermath of the incident in March.
Paine told Fairfax media last month “I know Justin (Langer) and myself are taking this very seriously. We want to build a culture that makes people want to be better and produce not only better cricketers but better people.”
Allrounder Mitchell Marsh and fast bowler Josh Hazlewood were appointed vice-captains last week after a lengthy selection process while there could be as many as four debutants, which would be the most changes in 40 years.
South African-born Marnus Labuschagne could earn a shock baggy green if opener Matthew Renshaw doesn’t recover from a knock to the head he suffered in the field in a warm up game last week while Queensland paceman Michael Neser is also a chance to don the famous green cap for the first time.
The two men who are guaranteed to make their debut are Victorian batsman Aaron Finch and South Australian allrounder Travis Head.
Pakistan are set to enter the series with a much more stable lineup, in fact their XI is expected to be similar to the one that dismantled Australia in both Tests when they last toured the UAE, back in November of 2014.
They will he captained by Sarfraz Ahmed and with arguably the best spinning duo in the world of Yasir Shah and Shadab Khan, it’s no wonder the hosts will enter this one as favourites.
The bookmakers have installed Pakistan as the $2.10 favourites with the baggy greens out at $2.75 and the draw at $4.70.
Australia haven’t won a Test series in Asia since 2011 and are way out at $4.50 to snap their horror run in the continent, while Pakistan are $2 to replicate their feats from 2014.
If Langer and the new-look Aussie side can produce a famous series win, the men from down under will return to second in the world rankings.
Suggested Bet: Aaron Finch to top score for Australia in the first innings: $5
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