Smith opens up on his struggle in Pakistan to convert 50s into century

ISLAMABAD: Former Australian batter Steve Smith has opined that he had three opportunities to get hundreds in Pakistan during the Test series in March.

The 33-year-old has not scored a century since 2021 and during the Test series against Pakistan, he managed to score 226 runs from four innings. Usman Khwaja was the only batter who scored more than him during the series for Australia.

He passed fifty on three occasions out of four in the three-Test series, only to be dismissed twice in the seventies and once on 59. Notably, in all three innings, Smith’s strike rate ranged from 33-39, which points to a broader trend; in that 17-Test window, his strike rate of 42.55 is some 15 runs fewer than he was operating at through that golden period, when it was 57.30.

Smith himself has identified and plans to address it in Sri Lanka.

“I probably had three opportunities to get hundreds in Pakistan, I just didn’t quite convert them,” Smith told cricket.com.au’s The Unplayable Podcast. “I feel like my plans were in a pretty decent place, but I could’ve potentially been a bit more aggressive against the spin over there, and played a few more shots.

“But I was also batting at stages where the ball was reversing quite big, and I know as a batter coming in next, it’s probably the toughest thing to face – a reversing ball on those kinds of wickets against some good bowlers in (Shaheen) Afridi and Hasan Ali.

“So it’s playing the game and being patient and playing the tempo, which we spoke a lot about in Pakistan; against the new ball you can play a few more shots, like I did in the third Test when I got in a little bit earlier, and got some boundaries away early.

“But then when the ball gets a bit softer, it’s reversing, you have to rein it back in until you get your moment to go a bit more aggressive.

“But against the spin, I know I’ve got a few more shots that I can potentially bring out and put a bit more pressure back on the bowler.”

It must be noted that Australia will play two Test against Sri Lanka after the conclusion of the ODI series.

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