Lyon to return from injury for Tests against Pakistan

Oliver Caffrey and Roger VaughanAAP
Nathan Lyon returns to Australia's Test squad for the home series against Pakistan. (Steven Markham/AAP PHOTOS)
Camera IconNathan Lyon returns to Australia's Test squad for the home series against Pakistan. (Steven Markham/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP

Nathan Lyon is set to play his first Test since tearing a calf muscle during the Ashes as Australia prepare to take on Pakistan with a familiar XI.

Australia will begin the three-Test series against Pakistan at Perth's Optus Stadium with almost the same side.

Veteran spinner Lyon will be the only inclusion from the fifth and final Test of the Ashes in July, replacing young spinner Todd Murphy.

Australia went 2-0 up after winning at Lord's, but that victory came at a cost because Lyon was injured and ruled out for the rest of the series.

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The tourists failed to win another Test as England drew the series 2-2, but Australia still retained the urn.

West Australian tearaway Lance Morris has been included in the 14-man squad, announced on Sunday, for the first Test starting on December 14 after his recovery from a back injury.

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Mitch Marsh is likely to retain the allrounder's position batting at No.6 after WA teammate Cameron Green was axed during the Ashes.

"This group, led by Pat Cummins, has built a strong resume over an extended period," chairman of selectors George Bailey said.

"We believe they have earnt the opportunity to start in our first home Test match at the beginning of the new World Test Championship cycle.

"Thirteen members of the squad were part of the victorious World Test Championship and successful Ashes tours over the winter, and Lance Morris has been recalled after recovering from his back injury over the same period.

"As ever, there will be opportunities in the short to medium term to break into this squad, and we look forward to seeing the continued strong performances from players who have been performing domestically, many of whom will get a tremendous opportunity in the PM's XI fixture against Pakistan later this week."

Veteran opener David Warner is set to get his wish to be farewelled from Test cricket at the SCG in January.

Warner will start the summer opening with Usman Khawaja, despite having scored just one Test century since January 2020, a memorable 200 against South Africa in last year's Boxing Day match.

Even if Warner's form is shaky in Perth and Melbourne, selectors will not make a change unless Australia face an unlikely challenge from a Pakistan team who head down under amid ongoing dysfunction at board level and within their administration.

Bailey on Sunday spoke about the need to carefully handle what happens once Warner leaves the Test team, noting the high turnover of spin-bowling prospects after Shane Warne's retirement.

"Whenever you've had someone who's had that longevity and been so dominating in a role, just to temper the expectations of whoever is going to be the replacement," he said.

"I think back to Warney finishing up ... and how many spinners got brought in and shuffled out in the quest to almost try to replicate Warney.

"I don't think you ever try to replicate someone who has played a role for as long as someone has and done it as well as they have - I'd put David in that category.

"That's something we're certainly conscious of, making sure that fit post-David is the right one."

AUSTRALIA: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Mitch Marsh, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins (capt), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Scott Boland, Cameron Green, Lance Morris.

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