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Sayers misses out as Lyon retained for Gabba Test


In-form South Australian bowler Chadd Sayers has again been overlooked by Australia’s selectors, who decided against unleashing a four-prong attack against Pakistan in Brisbane.

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Skipper Steve Smith had admitted in his pre-match press conference that Sayers was on the cusp of making his debut for Australia in the Test.

But offspinner Nathan Lyon warmed up with the XI at the Gabba today, leaving Sayers to carry the drinks for the second Test in a row.

Earlier, national selector Mark Waugh had also offered a hint that Sayers was in the frame, after the red-hot swing bowler was left out of his home Test in Adelaide in favour of Jackson Bird.

With the wicket in sticky Brisbane set to be a bowlers’ heaven, Waugh said he believed the hosts would have the Pakistanis covered in the first Test regardless of whether or not Australia went with four quicks.

“I think we’ll be confident. Yeah, why not? We’ve won the last Test in Adelaide – day-night Test, coming off some good one-day form,” Waugh said on Fox Sports’ Inside Cricket.

“They’re very good on flat pitches that don’t bounce a lot. Most batsmen are, I guess.

“But just the bounce and pace, their footwork tends to be not as sharp as some of the international sides. So it’s going to be a test for them.”

With Smith guaranteeing Bird a start alongside spearheads Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, the only question that remained was if Sayers would get the nod over Lyon, who boasts a spinner’s record second only to Shane Warne at the Gabba.

Either way, Waugh said it would be a big ask for Pakistan to inflict the first defeat on Australia in Brisbane since 1988 in thunderous, humid conditions made for fast bowling.

“I just think with day-night Test matches, it just sways your thinking a little bit more to the seam attack,” Waugh said.

“It’s going to come down to the pitch, really – what they see in the pitch (on Thursday), what the weather forecast is probably for the four or five days.

“Obviously there’s going to be rain, those sorts of things.”

There’s no doubting his faith, though, in rookie Sayers.

“He’s a dangerous bowler if there’s anything in the pitch – or in the air,” Waugh said.

“He bowls stump to stump. He’s not overly quick but he’s really skiddy; he runs through the crease so he’ll skid the ball on.

“He makes the batsmen play so he’s always at the stumps (trying to get) LBs and (batsmen) bowled and obviously caught behinds.

“So they’re his strengths. His not overly quick, but his record’s great.

“But Nathan’s record’s obviously excellent as well, so it’s a tough call.”

– with AAP

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