Last time Australia beat Pakistan in a Test it was a spin combination that did the damage on the final day. The unlikely pairing was Marcus North and Steven Smith, who between them collected nine wickets in the second innings at Lord's in 2010 to end any hopes Pakistan had of chasing down a formidable target of 440. North even got his name on the Lord's honour board with 6 for 55.

Four years later, Smith is a specialist batsman, North has retired and Australia are likely to field a more conventional twin spin attack against Pakistan, with Steve O'Keefe almost certain to make his Test debut alongside Nathan Lyon in Dubai. Playing two spinners has not brought Australia much success in the post-Warne era, but the UAE might prove the exception.

O'Keefe bowled well in the first innings of the warm-up against Pakistan A in Sharjah as his accurate style made the batsmen play and brought him 3 for 76. In the second innings it was Lyon who got the rewards with 2 for 49. Normally a quiet individual when speaking to the media, Lyon was uncharacteristically effusive when asked about the prospect of bowling in tandem with O'Keefe in a Test.

"Spin to win, I think," Lyon said. "SOK [O'keefe] is really putting is hand up for selection and if the selectors go for two spinners, SOK and I have experience at New South Wales, we've won the [Sheffield] Shield together. It's been working well together, we bounce information off each other.

"I'm looking forward to the opportunity if that chance arises of two spinners in Australian Test team then. I know there has been a drought with Australia not playing two spinners but we are looking forward to that challenge and were up for breaking that drought."

The Pakistan A batsmen have used their feet well to Lyon during this match and showed a willingness to go over the top against him. But he does not mind if the Pakistanis display a similarly attacking intent in the Test match, especially if the Dubai surface offers more spin than the somewhat dead pitch in Sharjah.

"It's perfect if they're going to come at us," Lyon said. "It's going to be a totally different pitch in Dubai. This pitch is not the best cricket wicket we've ever played on. It's a bit dead and a bit dull. That's the surface they've produced so we have to combat that. But it's going to be a different story come Dubai and it's going to be a different story if they want to take the game on."

Although Australia picked up only two wickets on the third day in Sharjah - Lyon's two in one over, plus a run out that he effected - he insisted that it was a positive that all the bowlers in the squad had a chance to bowl. Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle were not used after lunch and much of the pace work was done by Mitchell Starc and James Faulkner, who are unlikely to play in Dubai.

"We're pretty happy with it," Lyon said of the day's play. "This game is really about an opportunity for all the players in our squad, the whole 16 to have a go out there and really put their hand up for selection.

"That's how we're approaching this game. We're looking at it as an opportunity for everyone. Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle only bowled seven overs each so a lot of our main bowlers didn't really front up there towards the back end of the day but it gave the spinners a great opportunity.

"We spoke as a team that we want to get something out of it for each and every one. A lot of the quicks are bowling and then coming off and resting. Our recovery and our rest in the lead-up to this Test is going to be crucial. It's going to be warm and we can't do that [rest] in a Test match."

The Australian bowlers have now had all the match practice available to them ahead of the Test, as the Sharjah game is limited to 90 overs per innings. That means the final day of the game will consist only of Australia's second batting innings.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale