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Australia trim squad for Boxing Day Test against Pakistan

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MELBOURNE: Cricket Australia (CA) on Monday, made a tweak to their squad for the upcoming Boxing Day Test against Pakistan, scheduled to commence on December 26 in Melbourne.

Right-arm pacer Lance Morris has been omitted from Australia’s squad for the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan and will return to Perth Scorchers.

His omission was the only tweak made by the Australian selectors, trimming the 14-player squad they had in Perth to 13 for Melbourne.

Notably, Australia’s first-choice pacers Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood did well in the first Test against Pakistan as they troubled the visitors’ batting unit, which led them to a thumping 360-run victory.

Their impressive performance in the Perth Test also indicates the possibility that skipper Cummins will opt for the same Playing XI for the second Test.

“I don’t think injuries are going to be an issue, so I dare say it will be a pretty similar line-up at this stage,” Cummins said of the XI who will play in the Boxing Day Test.

“I think all the bowlers are pretty fresh after (the win in Perth). It’s basically the ideal start to the summer.”

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Set to chase 450, Pakistan’s batting lineup unfolded for a skimpy 89 in just 30.2 overs on Sunday and thus handed Australia a flying start to the three-match series.

Meanwhile, Pakistan will have an opportunity to sharpen their claws ahead of the Boxing Day Test as they take on Victoria in the two-day practice match at the Junction Oval, starting Friday.

The two-day practice match will be a timely opportunity for opening batter Marcus Harris to strengthen his case to replace David Warner, who has announced to bid adieu to Test cricket after the ongoing series against Pakistan.

Australia squad: Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Steve Smith, Mitch Starc, David Warner.

Pakistan squad: Shan Masood (c), Aamir Jamal, Abdullah Shafique, Abrar Ahmed, Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Khurram Shahzad, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Noman Ali, Saim Ayub, Salman Ali Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Saud Shakeel and Shaheen Shah Afridi.

READ: Pakistan penalized for slow over-rate after Perth Test debacle

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