Test Cricket: Who will Australia pick their starting XI in the 1st Test v Pakistan in the UAE on October 7-11?

The 15-man Australian Test squad immediately began preparing in the nets in the UAE after a 14-hour flight.

They have the rest of this and next week to get used to playing in the subcontinent tracks.

Initial 15-Man Squad

  • Tim Paine (Captain)
  • Ashton Agar
  • Brendan Doggett
  • Aaron Finch
  • Travis Head
  • Jon Holland
  • Usman Khawaja
  • Marnus Labuschagne
  • Nathan Lyon
  • Mitchell Marsh
  • Shaun Marsh
  • Michael Neser
  • Matthew Renshaw
  • Peter Siddle
  • Mitchell Starc

Who will play in the 1st Test v Pakistan on Sunday, October 7?

Matt Renshaw will open having recovered from disappointing first half of the previous domestic summer.

He since did what the selectors asked him to do.

It’s all about scoring lots of runs.

Based on the back end of the brief English summer & 2nd half of the 2017/18, he justified his case to get himself reclaim a spot.

Not sure if Aaron Finch will open alongside him though.

In Sheffield Shield, he usually bats at No.4 for Victoria rather than open in white-ball cricket.

It’s not a big shock if Finch gets the opening spot alongside Renshaw as his big-hitting shots frustrate the bowlers.

Top Order

Usman Khawaja will always come in at First Drop.

His subcontinent form isn’t good compared to home, knowing he’ll have to lift his game.

At No.4, Travis Head will get his wish having made an impact in the ODI & T20s for Australia.

The back end of his consistent half-knocks on two separate first-class games v India A is a plus.

Head hopes that his preparation in India & plus his leadership from captaining for South Australia would fit the Steve Smith-like qualities that Australia badly needed.


Shaun Marsh will always be right to go at Five as he looks to continue his impressive work from the 2017/18 home summer.

The same will go to his brother Mitchell as their main fast bowling all-rounder at Six.

Tim Paine will keep wicket plus captain for Australia at Seven.

Paine can offer his sublime work behind the stumps such as catching and stumping.

Plus he can guide to crucial 50s when they badly needed a hand.


Mitchell Starc will have to step as their lead frontline seamer at Eight.

More of the work will come from fast in-swing bowling.

But only little of the time, Starc will get his hand to contribute with the bat.

With Starc & M. Marsh sharing the seamers duties, Peter Siddle returns after a two-year absence at Nine.

At 36 years old, Siddle’s impressive work in County Cricket for Essex most recently has given the selectors a few eyebrows.

His vast experience through late outswingers is crucial at this moment for Australia.

Siddle can be their Jimmy Anderson as he prepares to demolish Pakistani batsmen by adding Test Cap 63.

Nathan Lyon leads as the senior main spinner for Australia at Ten.

Joining alongside Lyon is Jon Holland who bowls left-arm orthodox.

His picked up 3/89 in the first followed 6/81 during the 2nd innings for Australia A two weeks ago v India A.

Holland has unfinished business having last played for Australia two years ago v Sri Lanka (away).

His impressive work in spinning conditions conveyed that Holland’s the perfect man to balance the spinning duties as Lyon’s principal deputy.

Australia’s Starting XI for 1st Test v Pakistan

  1. Matt Renshaw
  2. Aaron Finch
  3. Usman Khawaja (Vice-Captain)
  4. Travis Head
  5. Shaun Marsh
  6. Mitchell Marsh
  7. Tim Paine (Captain)
  8. Mitchell Starc
  9. Peter Siddle
  10. Nathan Lyon
  11. Jon Holland


We could have added a bit of strength regarding the right-handers.

Marnus Labuschagne would’ve been a fantastic addition at four behind Queensland team-mate Usman Khawaja.

But at this moment, it’s best to stick with your best XI.

You will see plenty of left-handers in the line-up:

  • Matt Renshaw
  • Usman Khawaja
  • Travis Head
  • Shaun Marsh
  • Mitchell Starc

So Travis Head will get his first chance having established himself in the limited-overs format for Australia.

Plus knowing some of the guys who played tests before is an advantage for Head.

The same goes to Labuschagne’s state team-mate Brendan Doggett who’s a young quickie at 21 years old.

Doggett performed well for Australia A having picked three in the 1st & one wicket during the 2nd four-day game.

But it’s fair to say that experience comes first where Siddle will get the nod ahead of Doggett.

Even established state players will need to know the International Scene a bit more

Michael Neser will cover for Mitchell Marsh as the second fast bowling all-rounder.

Neser’s inexperienced at International level having played two ODIs v their disastrous 5-0 whitewash in England.

He will need to know the Test team a bit more before getting his chance in case Mitchell Marsh injures himself or out of form.

Ashton Agar would’ve been handy at No.8 both offering his left-arm spin & a bit of the powerful hitting bat.

Though, it’s best that Australia should stick with two specialist spinners of Lyon & Holland.

If Holland performs poor in the 1st test, there’s plenty of reasons why Australia shouldn’t recall Agar in the 2nd game.

Agar’s a crucial player on all areas should Australia suffer an early top order batting fall.

That is that, and it seems that Australia will field the best-experienced XI as possible.

It’s a crucial time as they will look on and win the Series v Pakistan in the UAE without the help of Steve Smith & Dave Warner.

You can watch the upcoming Australian Tour of Pakistan LIVE on the new Fox Cricket Channel via Foxtel.

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Author: Sports Benches

Matthew Nicholas, the founder/blogger/vlogger on Sports Benches, is an aspiring cricket player & passionate sports fanatic who lives in Sydney, Australia.

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