Smith wins toss and bats first

Stanlake, Lynn named for ODI debuts as Smith wins toss and opts to bat first at the Gabba

Australia have won the toss and elected to bat in the first Victoria Bitter ODI Series match against Pakistan at the Gabba.

Australia announced their playing XI yesterday with Queensland pair Chris Lynn and Billy Stanlake named to make their one-day international debut.

Lynn was presented his maiden ODI cap by 2003 World Cup-winning batsman and Queensland hero Jimmy Maher, while former Australia paceman Carl Rackerman was on deck to present Stanlake with his gold cap.

Azhar Ali leads a Pakistan ODI team that has lost its last five matches against Australia. They won their most recent 50-over series against the West Indies in the United Arab Emirates in September and October.

Allrounder Mohammad Hafeez returns to the Pakistan side while veteran Shoaib Malik was ruled out due to an illness he developed yesterday, but Pakistan say he'll be fully fit for the second match in Melbourne on Sunday.



Travis Head will open the batting for the hosts alongside vice-captain David Warner, while allrounder Glenn Maxwell returns for the first time in 13 matches.

Legspinner Adam Zampa has been left out of the side with the Aussies opting for a pace-heavy bowling attack of Stanlake, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins as well as medium-pace allrounders James Faulkner and Mitchell Marsh.

Usman Khawaja is the other member of the 13-man squad to miss out and captain Steve Smith admitted it was “tough call” to leave the stylish left-hander out.

"I think looking around the squad, Maxwell was in the last group and it was good to get him into the line-up,” Smith said yesterday.

"And Travis Head played very well in the last series and we've seen him play very well at the top of the order in the Matador Cup so it's given him an opportunity at the top and we've got plenty of power down the order.

"It's a good opportunity for Travis, but unlucky for Usman."

Azhar yesterday said his side will be boosted by the inclusion of the likes of Mohammad Hafeez and and Umar Akmal with Pakistan, currently ranked eighth on the International Cricket Council's 50-over rankings, needing to remain in the top-eight to automatically qualify for the 2019 ODI World Cup.

"Obviously we have to start fresh (after the Test series) and some fresh faces have come into the team," the skipper said.

"It's been a long, long tour. We've played a lot of cricket since England so it's always good to have fresh energy in the team and we're looking forward to a fresh series.

"As a team we have improved and in our last four or five games our performances have been really good. We want to keep building on that and improve our performances."

Ali confirmed reports from earlier this week that star wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfraz Ahmed will miss the start of the series after he flew home to be with his mother, who has fallen ill. Mohammad Rizwan will take the gloves in Sarfraz's absence.