Pakistan have made two big changes in their playing 11 for the third and final Test match vs Australia in Sydney. In a decision that has surprised many, captain Shan Masood and head coach Mohammad Hafeez decided to rest Shaheen Afridi and give a chance to young Saim Ayub in place of Imam-ul-Haq.

Imam has been struggling for runs in this tour and has rightly been dropped from the playing 11, giving away to young Ayub, known for his attacking batting.

Shaheen is not injured but given a rest as he is going to lead Pakistan non-stop in the next few months. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is not taking any chance with his fitness as Shaheen is crucial for Pakistan in this year with T20 World Cup 2024 to be played in June.

Shaheen has been replaced by spinner Sajid Khan in the playing 11 as Pakistan aims to win the third Test and return with first Test win on Australian soil in more than thirty years.

Saim, who made his T20I debut in March last year comes in the team on back of impressive List A performances for Karachi. This will be his first Test match. In the 8 T20Is he has played so far, he has scored 123 runs at an average of 17.57.

Australia has confirmed their playing XI for the upcoming game, sticking with the same lineup as the last Test. Notably, this match marks David Warner’s farewell appearance in Australian colors. Scheduled in Sydney from 3rd to 7th January, this third Test comes with Australia already securing an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the series. Furthermore, Australia holds the third position on the ICC World Test Championship table.

Interestingly, Warner lost hus Baggr Green cap on his way to Sydney from Melbourne. He posted a video on Instagram, pleading to the person who took his backpack from the luggage at the airport to return it as the Cap was of immense importance to him.

Pakistan Playing XI for third Test: Saim Ayub, Abdullah Shafique, Shan Masood (c), Babar Azam, Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Salman Ali Agha, Sajid Khan, Hasan Ali, Mir Hamza, Aamer Jamal.

Australia XI to take on Pakistan at the SCG: Pat Cummins (c) David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Mitch Marsh, Alex Carey, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood

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