Yasir Shah gestures to Steve Smith after taking the Australian star’s wicket. Picture: Getty
Yasir Shah gestures to Steve Smith after taking the Australian star’s wicket. Picture: Getty

Yasir’s pointed sledge of ‘bunny’ Steve Smith

 TELL your story walkin' pal - even if you are 3-358.

Day three of the first Test confirmed to the cricket public what they already knew:  that leg-spinners are the quirkiest beasts in cricket and God love 'em for that.

When Pakistan's bouncy leggie Yasir Shah bowled Steve Smith for four he waited a few seconds before triumphantly raising seven fingers to remind the cricket world it was the seventh time he had taken Smith's wicket in Tests.

No doubt about it, it's a solid stat. Stuart Broad has Smith eight times, but from 24 Tests. Yasir has played him in just six.

Smith is Superman to most. To Yasir he's more Clark Kent.

On a day when the tourists were in more trouble than Prince Andrew, it seemed a little odd to be saying "take a look at the scoreboard'', but Yasir's ability to smile his way through cricket's many challenges is an enduring strength.

 

 

Former Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur identified Yasir early as cheeky, back-of-the-bus sort of lad whose mischievous grin always gave the impression he was up to something.

Arthur had no complaints though because leg spinners need a certain indomitable spirit if they are to survive.

Yasir displayed this after stumps on the first day.

When many of his teammates had retired to the dressing room he was happy to smile for selfies with fans who were waiting outside the rooms.

Steve Smith is clean bowled by Yasir Shah. Picture: AAP
Steve Smith is clean bowled by Yasir Shah. Picture: AAP

Yasir ended up taking 4-205 as he joined the long list of decorated overseas spin bowlers to find Australia's minimally turning decks a nightmare. He became the first bowler in history to concede 200 runs in three Test innings.

Muttiah Muralitharan, Graeme Swann, Harbhajan Singh and Yasir's former countrymen and all time great Abdul Qadir were just a few of the many big names to find Australian conditions overwhelming.

For all of Yasir's struggles there is a certain buoyancy about him.

Has Pakistan found Steve Smith’s kryptonite in Yasir Shah? Picture: AP
Has Pakistan found Steve Smith’s kryptonite in Yasir Shah? Picture: AP

Recently he became the fastest Test cricket to take 200 Test wickets, a notable achievement given his Test debut came after he spent almost a decade trudging the dusty highways and byways of Pakistan's domestic circuit playing for teams like the Northern Gas Pipeline Limited.

He hails from Pakistan's wild north western frontier and when he passed 200 wickets some local officials gave him a framed rifle.

Yasir Shah is the cheeky heartbeat of the Pakistan attack. Picture: Getty
Yasir Shah is the cheeky heartbeat of the Pakistan attack. Picture: Getty

It caused no major stir because in the Khyber Pass region where he lives there are gun craftsmen who will whip up a copy of John Wayne's Colt 45 on request.

"I come from a village in Swabi and there was very little or no cricket facilities so we would just play on grass and I would have to travel 100km to Peshawar for a game of organised cricket,'' he once told me.

"I had to wait a long time for my chance but it allowed me to develop my game.''

It did indeed. And it also gave him the fibre to smile his way through brutal days of hard toil like the Gabba has thrown up in this Test.

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News Corp Australia


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