Frustrated Australian batter Steve Smith eyes big score in Lahore during third Test

Rizwan AliAP
Steve Smith hopes it's third time lucky for him in Pakistan as he chases a Test century.
Camera IconSteve Smith hopes it's third time lucky for him in Pakistan as he chases a Test century. Credit: AP

Australia vice-captain Steve Smith admits he’s disappointed to have not capitalised on two good starts against Pakistan as he remains without an away Test century in over two years.

Smith scored 78 in Australia’s first Test in Pakistan since 1998 which ended in a draw at Rawalpindi before making 72 in the epic drawn game at Karachi.

“Look, I’ve been pretty disappointed when I’ve got out, that’s for sure,” Smith said on Saturday as Australia prepared for the third and final Test in Lahore starting Monday.

“I haven’t got out (in the 70s) many times in my career and I think I’ve got to get the bigger scores, particularly on those wickets.”

Smith looked set to score a first-Test century on the lifeless Pindi Cricket Stadium wicket before top-edging a wild sweep against legspinner Nauman Ali and getting caught at short fine leg.

He batted for four hours and 40 minutes at Karachi for his 72 in Australia’s mammoth first-innings score of 9(dec)-556 but edged a low catch off fast bowler Hasan Ali to Faheem Ashraf at second slip.

In a batter-dominated series so far, Smith hopes in Lahore he can get his first away Test century since making 211 in the Ashes Test at Manchester in 2019.

Another slow pitch is likely at the Gaddafi Stadium where there’s hardly any grass left on the wicket.

“Hopefully (I) can get into the similar position in this Test and go on and convert,” Smith said.

Captain Babar Azam led Pakistan to the second-Test draw with his historic knock of 196 in over 10 hours at Karachi.

“Pakistan batted exceptionally well to stay out there for 172 overs,” Smith said.

“It’s not too often you see a team last that long in the fourth inning, (but) obviously we weren’t quite good enough to get all 10 (wickets) in the end.”

Smith dropped a crucial catch off opener Abdullah Shafique in the slips when he was on 20 and it cost Australia dearly as the batsman went on to share a double-century stand with Babar.

Smith eventually got hold of Shafique’s edge in the same position but by that time the batter had gone on to score 96.

Smith said the slow nature of the wicket has encouraged Australia to put fielders in the slips and closer to the wicket.

“It’s been a real challenge, I’ve never stood as close to the bat in my life in any conditions,” Smith added.

“There’s just been no bounce in the wicket, so part of our plan is to ensure that the ball carries as much as possible.

“The reaction time isn’t great. It’s been difficult to adjust, but we’re working on that at training.”

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