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Saim Ayub Set to Debut as Pakistan Look for Positive Cricket in Final Test

Pakistan are expected to make one change in their playing XI for the third and final Test against Australia, which starts on January 3 at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Young opener Saim Ayub is likely to make his Test debut, replacing Imam-ul-Haq, who has struggled with the bat in the series so far.

According to sources, the team management is not satisfied with Imam’s slow and tentative batting, which has put pressure on the rest of the line-up. The left-hander has scored only 94 runs in four innings at a strike-rate of 31.22, with a highest score of 62.

The management has instructed the team to play positive cricket and show more intent and aggression in the final Test, the sources added. They want the batsmen to score runs at a brisk pace and the bowlers to attack the Australian batsmen with more discipline and consistency.

One of the bowlers who will have to shoulder more responsibility in Sydney is vice-captain and star pacer Shaheen Afridi, who has been the most impressive and hard-working bowler for Pakistan in the series. The 23-year-old has bowled 99.2 overs in the two Tests, taking eight wickets.

However, the team management has decided to reduce his workload and preserve his energy for the final Test. Shaheen will not bowl in the nets before the match and will also bowl fewer overs than usual during the match. The management hopes that this will help him perform better and avoid any injury or fatigue.

Pakistan have already lost the three-match Test series, after suffering two heavy defeats in Perth and Melbourne. In the first Test, they were thrashed by 360 runs, as Australia piled up 487 and 233 for 5 declared, while Pakistan managed 271 and 89 in their two innings. Mitchell Marsh was the Player of the Match for his 90 runs and one wicket in the first innings.

In the second Test, Pakistan put up a better fight, but still fell short by 79 runs. Australia scored 318 and 262, while Pakistan replied with 264 and 237. Pat Cummins was the star of the show, taking 10 wickets in the match, including five in each innings. He also scored 13 runs in the second innings and was named the Player of the Match.

Pakistan have not won a Test in Australia since 1995, losing 16 consecutive Tests in the country. The Green Shirts will be hoping to end their losing streak and salvage some pride in the final Test in Sydney. They will also be looking to gain some confidence and momentum ahead of the away series against New Zealand, which starts on January 15.

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