Australian bowler Mitchell Starc celebrates taking the wicket of Pakistan's Azhar Ali at the Gabba.
Australian bowler Mitchell Starc celebrates taking the wicket of Pakistan's Azhar Ali at the Gabba. DAN PELED

Ten players to watch in the Boxing Day Test

DAVID WARNER

AGE: 30

TESTS: 58

BATTING AVERAGE: 47.58

Hasn't scored a Test century since hitting 122 not out against the West Indies in January. Has been in prime form in the one-day game, however, and is one big innings away from doing the same at Test level.

STEVE SMITH

AGE: 27

TESTS: 48

BATTING AVERAGE: 58.49

Has been in the form of his life this year and scored his 16th Test century at the Gabba. Loves the MCG and scored 134 not out and an unbeaten 70 in last year's Boxing Day Test against the West Indies.

JOSH HAZLEWOOD

AGE: 25

TESTS: 24

BOWLING AVERAGE: 26.07

Has arguably been Australia's best bowler this summer and although he did not pick up a wicket in the second innings at the Gabba, he still looks dangerous. Not far away from a big haul of wickets.

MITCHELL STARC

AGE: 26

TESTS: 32

BOWLING AVERAGE: 27.58

Has been the standout Australian performer in the past year apart from his skipper. Consistently causes problems for all batsmen and his ability to take wickets when needed is a great attribute to have.

PETER HANDSCOMB

AGE: 25

TESTS: 2

BATTING AVERAGE: 97.50

The local boy will relish the chance of playing on his home ground on Boxing Day. Has taken to Test cricket like a duck to water, scoring a polished century in just his second game at the Gabba. Has the temperament to shine in front of a big MCG crowd.

MISBAH-UL-HAQ

AGE: 42

TESTS: 70

BATTING AVERAGE: 46.96

The Pakistan captain might be the oldest current player in Test cricket but Australia knows what he can do. He still holds the record for the fastest Test 50 (21 balls). That came against Australia in 2014. He went on in that innings to equal Sir Vivian Richards' then-record of 56 balls for a Test century.

AZHAR ALI

AGE: 31

TESTS: 55

BATTING AVERAGE: 45.12

Played himself into form in the Brisbane Test with 71 in the second innings at the Gabba. Looks all class when playing well. Likes to bat for long periods as his 300 against the West Indies earlier in the year showed.

YOUNIS KHAN

AGE: 39

TESTS: 113

BATTING AVERAGE: 52.67

After a first-ball duck in the first innings at the Gabba, bounced back to show he still has the class with 65 in the second knock. If he gets in at the MCG, he could be in for a big score.

MOHAMMAD AMIR

AGE: 24

TESTS: 23

BOWLING AVERAGE: 31.58

The left-arm quick had a miraculous recovery from a knee injury when fielding in Brisbane when it looked like it could end his tour. Bowled well at the Gabba and also showed he's no mug with the bat, hitting his Test-best score of 48 in the second innings to support Asad Shafiq.

YASIR SHAH

AGE: 30

TESTS: 21

TEST BOWLING AVERAGE: 28.65

The world's best leg spinner had no luck in Brisbane but showed he has recovered from the back problem which interrupted his preparation for the first Test. He can hang around with the bat too, as he showed when Pakistan fought back at the Gabba.



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