The first red ball of the summer will be bowled at The Gabba on Thursday as Australia kicks off the first of three Tests against Pakistan.
Fresh from retaining
the urn with an inspiring performance in England, the Aussies return home beaming
with confidence as they look to improve in the world rankings.
will also mark an important moment in Steve Smith’s career as he plays his
first Test on home soil since the scandal in South Africa.
surprisingly, the Aussies are favoured heavily to get the wood over Pakistan.
There might be very little value on offer straight-up, but we’re confident we’ve
found some strong betting plays in our entire First Test Preview below.
official squads will be announced on Wednesday, but it’s pretty clear who the
Australian selectors are leaning towards.
Bancroft is by far the most controversial selection after a horror tour of
England. The West Australian slightly redeemed himself with a strong 49 in a recent
tour match, but overall, Bancroft’s struggles overseas and in the Sheffield Shield
are of major concern.
Bancroft the rest of the Australian team looks pretty solid. Like in England,
there’s nothing to say Australia’s hopes won’t rely entirely on the bat of
Steve Smith, but the addition of Travis Head, who performed exceptionally well
in Brisbane against Sri Lanka back in January, could make a difference.
also plenty of hype around Joe Burns, who makes his return to Test cricket after
falling just 20 runs shy of a double ton against Sri Lanka in Canberra earlier
in February. Burns has taken the crease twice at The Gabba to mixed results,
but his recent Shield performances have been encouraging.
Australia should win this Test on class alone, there’s nothing to say they won’t
have their hands full with some of Pakistan’s top talent. Babar Azam, who was
the eighth-highest run scorer at the Cricket World Cup, just recently put up
157 runs against Australia A in a tour match last week.
Azhar Ali isn’t to be taken lightly, either. The top order bastman is averaging
just over 43 runs in Test cricket and brings some serious leadership with him
to the crease.
bowling standpoint Australia also has an edge, but Justin Langer’s men will
need to be wary of Pakistan’s Mohammad Abbas and spinner Yasir Shar. Overall though,
we should see Australia stave off an early Pakistan challenge before winning
Tip: Back Australia to Win @ $1.25
Top 1st Innings Ruscorer
far outweighs the bad when it comes to Steve Smith’s outings at the Gabba.
put up a century in each of his last three Test matches played in Brisbane,
making him the most sensible Australian to bet on when it comes to the 1st
Innings Runscorer market.
say the pressure is on the 30-year-old to deliver a big performance in his
return home, but since we saw Smith completely hold his nerve in hostile
conditions during The Ashes, don’t be surprised if he puts up another big total
Tip: Back Steve Smith @ $3.00
Top 1st Innings Runscorer
a great deal of experience in the Pakistan batting order when it comes to
playing down under, but if you’ve been paying attention to the leadup to Day
One you’ll know how dangerous middle-order man Asad Shafiq can be.
33-year-old veteran put up a century in each of his last two tour matches
against Australia. Shafiq has only taken the crease once in Brisbane, but he
left his mark by putting up 137 runs vs Australia back in 2016.
Tip: Back Asad Shafiq @ $5.00
Top 1st Innings Wicket Taker
every chance we Mitchell Starc unleash as he finally returns home to familiar
spent most of the year trying to combat slow and boring English pitches, which
he did extraordinarily well taking a crucial four wickets during the Fourth Test
against England in Manchester.
Now, Starc can
loosen up a bit with the Gabba’s lively surface – a ground he’s enjoyed enormous
success on. In six Test matches, Starc has taken a combined 24 wickets, two of
which came against Sri Lanka back in January.
Tip: Back Mitchell Starc @ $3.75
Top 1st Innings Wicket Taker
It’s a bit
of a coin flip between Mohammad Abbas and Imran Khan here, but after Australia
struggled with medium pacers in England, you’re best off sticking with the
bowled down under before, but he did show some real poise South Africa taking
three wickets in Johannesburg back in January. Abbas also bowled exceptionally
well during Pakistan’s tour of England last year, so he looks strong value at
his current price.
Tip: Mohammad Abbas @ $3.25