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Smith loses Midas touch as Pakistan persist


Catches win matches: it’s a theory Australian captain Steve Smith has spectacularly proven time and again.

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Which made his costly second slip display that spilt two chances in the first Test against Pakistan in Brisbane yesterday all the more surprising.

Smith’s “see it to believe it” diving effort at the SCG two weeks ago in the one-day series against New Zealand was considered one of the greatest catches ever.

However, Smith’s Midas touch lost its lustre on day four of the Gabba day-night clash.

Smith not only bombed two slips catches, one of the them kept the door ajar for a world record-breaking victory by Pakistan.

Asad Shafiq (100 not out) was dropped on 72 on Sunday night by Smith off Mitchell Starc.

Pakistan's Asad Shafiq reaches 100 runs during play on day four of the first cricket test between Australia and Pakistan in Brisbane, Australia, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)

Asad Shafiq reaches 100 on day four. Photo: Tertius Pickard / AP

With Shafiq still at the crease, Pakistan will dare to dream of reaching a record 490 victory target when they resume on the final day at 8-382 this afternoon.

Smith got off easy with his first dropped catch.

He grassed Sarfraz Ahmed on 19 off Josh Hazlewood in the first over after dinner but the Pakistan ‘keeper was soon bowled by Starc for 24.

“He’s obviously a very good slips fielder and he dropped two catches that he usually takes,” Australian assistant coach David Saker said.

“It was a bit frustrating in the dressing room.

“You wouldn’t have wanted to be in the room with (head coach) Darren (Lehmann) and I going off.”

For the record, Smith took a smart slips catch off Jackson Bird on the fourth last ball of the day to dismiss Wahab Riaz (30) and snap a worrying 66-run eighth wicket stand.

It was Smith’s third catch of the innings.

“He ended up taking a good one at the end which was a pretty important wicket in the context of the game,” Saker said.


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