Australia recorded a thumping victory over Pakistan in the first Test of a two-match series at Gabba, Brisbane on Sunday. It was a near-perfect performance by the home side as all their bowlers, especially seamers, excelled again and many batsmen also contributed generously.
But there was one very odd thing about the match – the failure of Steve Smith. Since his comeback from the one-year ban imposed on him for ball-tampering, Smith has been in Bradmanesque form in the longest format of the game. The Ashes series, a few weeks ago, saw him get 50+ scores in all innings bar one.
But in the only innings that Australia batted in during the Test against Pakistan, he was out for just 4! Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah bowled him early on in his innings. This rare single-digit figure of Smith got everyone talking. Shah celebrated by signaling 'seven' with his fingers – referring to the fact that this is the seventh time he has dismissed the Aussie batsman in this format.
The story behind Smith's failure
So, how come Pakistan, and Yasir, achieve what England and many other sides have failed to on various occasions? Well, according to the words of former England captain Michael Vaughan, who is working as a commentator for an Australian channel, Pakistan may have learnt the trick to get Smith out through none other than an Australian legend – Shane Warne!
Vaughan, during one of his commentary spells narrated something that happened at the hotel where the teams and commentators are staying. "Last night Shane was walking out of the hotel when the Pakistan bus arrived. After a selfie with them all, Shane was in the middle of them all and he had a nice conversation with Yasir Shar and he just said: 'Tell them to bowl a little bit straighter'."
Warne, who spotted Yasir's potential as early as his debut Test in 2014 and has worked with him in the past, accepted that he has given some advice to the Pakistani leg-spinner.
"I've been lucky enough to work with him (Shah) a little bit and we keep in touch whenever he's playing around the world. I just had a chat and spoke to him about the things I spoke about this morning, bowling a bit straighter, getting your field right and challenging the front pad and the stumps rather than bowling wide of off stump," Warne revealed.
Another commentator of the broadcasting team that includes both Vaughan and Warne, former Australian cricketer Kerry O'Keeffe, who is known for his great sense of humour, came up with a funny quip. "He's a mole," O'Keeffe said, in jest, of course.