Australia batsman Steve Smith is hoping his first away Test century in over two years is just round the corner after he came close to the three-figure mark twice against Pakistan.
Smith scored 78 in Australia’s first Test in Rawalpindi before making 72 in the epic drawn at Karachi.
The former captain looked set for a century on a lifeless Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium wicket before edging a sweep against spinner Nauman Ali.
He then batted for over four hours in Karachi for his 72 in Australia’s mammoth first-innings score of 556-9 declared but edged a low catch in the second slip to Faheem Ashraf off fast bowler Hasan Ali.
“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 starting in Lahore on 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 will be aiming for his first away Test ton since making 211 in the Ashes Test at Manchester in 2019.
Another slow wicket is likely to welcome both teams 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.
Meanwhile, four limited-overs matches between Pakistan and Australia have been moved from Rawalpindi to Lahore, both countries' cricket boards confirmed on Saturday.
Three ODIs and a one-off T20 will now be staged at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
Pakistan's interior minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told local media on Friday that the matches will be played in Lahore because of the political situation in the country's capital and Rawalpindi's twin city Islamabad.
Both the ruling party and the opposition have called for protests outside the parliament in Islamabad ahead of a no-confidence vote, which has raised the chances of unrest.