ABU DHABI: Pakistan and New Zealand take on each other in first of the three-match test series at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi today.
Seventh-ranked Pakistan is favourite amongst the two rivals given their experience and familiarity with the UAE conditions and with most of its players showcasing excellent cricket skills.
Known for its deadly bowling attack, the green side will be relying upon spinner Yasir Shah and pacer Muhammad Abbas to tackle the in-form Kiwi batting line up.
Bowling sensation Abbas, who debuted last year against Windies at Kingston, has taken 59 wickets in 10 test matches with a flabbergasting average of 15.64, including a 10-wicket haul against Aussies at the same venue in the previous series.
Pakistan has sharpened its knives prior to the series as Abbas will be backed by spin duo of Yasir Shah and Bilal Asif to get maximum advantage of the UAE weather conditions.
National skipper Sarfraz is determined to reshape the history as Pakistan has not beaten its opponent in test series since 2011.
“New Zealand are a good side and gave us tough times both in the T20s and one-day internationals,” said Sarfraz.
Pakistan is likely to prefer Abbas over young speed gun Afridi to share the new ball with Hasan Ali, with Yasir and Asif assisted by Mohammad Hafeez in spin.
While Kiwis are likely to launch the left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel along with either off-spinner Will Somerville or leg-spinner Ish Sodhi.
New Zealand also have a strong pace combination with Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Matt Henry and Neil Wagner to choose from.
The match will start at 11:00 am. Second and third test matches will be played in Dubai and Abu Dhabi between November 24-28 and December 3-7 respectively.
Pakistan smashed New Zealand 3-0 in T20s while their ODI series was shared 1-1 after the third match ended indecisively due to rain in Dubai.