Islamabad-born Usman Khawaja scored his 11th Test hundred for Australia who were 224-2 at the end of the 77th over during the last session of the first day of the second Test match of the three-match Benaud-Qadir ICC World Test Championship series at the Karachi Stadium on Saturday.
The visitors, who won the toss and elected to bat first, brought in debutante leg-spinner Mitechell Swepson to opt for a spin-heavy attack while Pakistan recalled all-rounder Faheem Ashraf and fast bowler Hasan Ali.
Both sides are looking for a victory as the first Rawalpindi test ended in a draw at a track, which was described by the cricket experts as a "dead wicket."
Left-handed batter Usman Khawaja was unbeaten on 117, with middle-order batter Steve Smith providing worthwhile support with a fifty of his own.
Southpaw opener David Warner was caught behind off a Faheem Ashraf delivery as he was settling in and had his sights on a big score of his own. Warner was trying to block the outside off delivery but it nicked his bat and landed in wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan's gloves.
In-form batter Marnus Labuschagne was run out without opening his account while trying to steal a single but quick reflexes and a direct hit from Sajid Khan sent him back to the pavilion.
After winning the toss, Australian skipper Pat Cummins said that the track looked to be a "good wicket". He added that it would be a great opportunity for the debutant Mitchell Swepson, who has been part of the squad for so long. "We are pumped he gets this opportunity."
On the advantage of winning the toss, he said: "The onus is now on us to score big. I think it's a good toss to win but it does not guarantee anything. I think it's going to be tough for both teams. Cummins added that the players were with a fresh mind.
Babar Azam was of the same opinion that the track looked good but hoped for taking early wickets to put pressure on the touring side. He also talked about the two changes and said the team was playing its full squad. "I think later on this pitch will help spinners."
Pakistan's playing XI
Pakistan have made two changes, recalling fast bowler Hasan Ali and allrounder Faheem Ashraf from injury, who come into their side in place of Naseem Shah and Iftikhar Ahmed and have come with the full squad.
Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Imamul Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Nauman Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sajid Khan.
"Faheem has tested negative in retests and has rejoined the side, meaning he's now available for the second Test," a Pakistan Cricket Board spokesperson said on Thursday.
Australia's playing XI
David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins (c), Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Nathan Lyon.
The Queenslander will be the first frontline leg-spinner to debut in Tests for Australia's men's team since Bryce McGain in 2009, according to Cricket Australia. "He's pumped and to be honest, we're all pumped for 'Swepo'," Cummins said on Friday.
"It's been a long time running drinks over the last couple of years, but he's absolutely ready.
Australia on February 27 flew into Pakistan Sunday for their first cricket tour in nearly a quarter of a century -- and into a high-security bubble that will envelop them throughout their six-week stay.
The PCB and Cricket Australia on February 4 announced the revised itinerary of the 2022 Australia men’s cricket team’s tour of Pakistan for three Tests, three ODIs and one T20I. "The tour will now start and end in Rawalpindi with the opening Test to be played from 4-8 March and the four white-ball matches to be played from 29 March to 5 April," it read, adding that the change in the first test venue meant that the second Test would be played in Karachi from 12-16 March and the third in Lahore from 21-25 March.
- 27 Feb – Arrival in Islamabad
- 4-8 Mar – 1st Test, Rawalpindi
- 12-16 Mar – 2nd Test, Karachi
- 21-25 Mar – 3rd Test, Lahore
- 29 Mar – 1st ODI, Rawalpindi
- 31 Mar – 2nd ODI, Rawalpindi
- 2 April – 3rd ODI, Rawalpindi
- 5 Apr – one-off T20I, Rawalpindi
- 6 Apr - Departure