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Watch: Nauman Ali’s extreme leg-side line plan pays off to continue Steve Smith’s century drought

by Wisden Staff 5 minute read

Watch: Steve Smith became the fourth Australia batter to cross fifty but fall short of a hundred during their first innings against Pakistan in the first Test at Rawalpindi, falling victim to an extreme leg-side strategy put into place by Nauman Ali.

After a wet outfield wiped out the first session of day four, Marnus Labuschagne and Smith resumed where they left off the previous evening, moving their side’s total past 300 before the former was dismissed for 90 by Shaheen Shah Afridi.

While Travis Head was removed cheaply for 8, Smith and Cameron Green put on 81 in 33 overs before the all-rounder was dismissed by Nauman in the evening session, falling for 48 after he failed to find the middle off a sweep and gifted fine leg with an easy catch.

Nauman, the left-arm spinner, persisted with a line outside leg stump after it helped him dismiss Green, and the tactic proved to be Smith’s downfall too. On 78, Smith gloved a sweep to a ball that pitched well outside leg stump and Mohammad Rizwan, whose starting position was on the leg side, held on behind the stumps.

Smith shook his head as he walked off the field, continuing his wait for a first Test century since January 2021 – a period encompassing 12 Test innings – a long wait by the standards of one of the greatest batters of the modern era.

Watch Nauman out-fox Steve Smith with a leg-side line below:

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