Pakistan wins toss, bats; 16-year-old Naseem to debut
BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Naseem Shah is the youngest male cricketer to make his test debut in Australia but the 16-year-old paceman will have to wait to get into the action after Pakistan skipper Azhar Ali won the toss Thursday and elected to bat in the first test.
Naseem earned his place in the team after taking 1-21 in eight overs in a tour match last week in Perth, a day after his mother died in Pakistan. Flight logistics and religious customs meant he couldn’t make it home in time for the funeral, so he stayed in Australia and will now make his test debut.
“It was very emotional this morning when he got his cap,” Azhar said in a broadcasting interview at the toss. “We’re really excited to see Naseem play.”
Pakistan stuck with the same XI that drew the tour match against Australia A in Perth, with veteran Mohammad Abbas missing out in favor of the younger pacers.
Australia hasn’t lost a test match at the Gabba since 1988. Pakistan has not won a test match in Australia since 1995.
Australia: Joe Burns, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Matthew Wade, Tim Paine (captain), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.
Pakistan: Shan Masood, Azhar Ali (captain), Haris Sohail, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Yasir Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah, Imran Khan.
Umpires: Richard Illingworth and Richard Kettleborough, England.
TV Umpire: Michael Gough, England. Match Referee: Jeff Crowe, New Zealand.