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Australia ready to shine in West Test against Pakistan

Australia will be aiming to continue their hot form of 2023 when they take on Pakistan in the series-opening Test at Perth's Optus Stadium.



Australia skipper Pat Cummins says his team will still feel plenty of love even if there's vast swathes of empty seats during the series-opening Test against Pakistan in Perth.


A total of just 42,517 fans attended last summer's Australia-West Indies Test across five days at Optus Stadium.


Cricket WA is aiming for more than 20,000 fans to flock through the gates of Optus Stadium on day one alone against Pakistan. 


That target seems ambitious with a crowd of below 15,000 more likely.


Even if the 20,000 target is met for the opening day of the newly branded 'West Test', it will still seem relatively sparse in the 60,000-seat venue.


And the match comes less than a month after Australia played in front of 92,453 fans in their World Cup final victory over India in Ahmedabad.


There won't be nearly the same frenzy in Perth for the series opener against Pakistan, but Cummins says that's to be expected.


"When you're talking about World Cup finals, it's the pinnacle isn't it?" Cummins said.

"We're still on a high from that, it's not going to get much better than that. But I'm sure it's going to be well supported here. 


"You might not get the packed stadium, but there's going to be millions of people watching (on TV) and it's kind of the start of their summer - that first ball of the first Test match. 


"So we feel really supported whenever we play over here and probably on the back of the last 12 months we've had, I've never felt the support like we have over the past month."

David Warner has had a very public stoush with former Test teammate and local Mitchell Johnson.


The reception David Warner receives will be a big talking point in his farewell Test series.

Former pace ace Mitchell Johnson stirred controversy when he questioned whether the 37-year-old deserved a hero's farewell given his poor form and involvement in the 2018 sandpaper scandal.


Another big talking point is whether Nathan Lyon will be able to get the four wickets he needs to join the 500 Test wickets club.


Pakistan have never won a Test series in Australia and they haven't even won a single Test down under since 1995.


The visitors are rank underdogs to win the upcoming series, but captain Shan Masood is daring to dream of an upset.


"It would mean the world to us," Masood said.


"And when you talk about the bigger picture, there's the World Test Championship, so every Test match and every single point counts. 


"And it's a two-year cycle. So we've got a lot of other Test matches to play as well. 

"Australia is the perfect place to start, perfect place to gauge where we are as a team and then take it from there."


Pakistan will hand debuts to pace bowlers Aamir Jamal and Khurram Shahzad, but there was no room for veteran spinner Noman Ali.


Australia welcome back spinner Lyon from the calf injury he suffered during the Ashes, while Mitch Marsh retains the allrounder spot ahead of Cameron Green. 


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