Usman Khawaja has said it is funny that people are talking about Steve Smith’s Test century drought given the former skipper is still consistently producing big scores. Smith cut a frustrated figure after being dismissed for 59 on day one of the third Test against Pakistan in Lahore.
The 32-year-old combined with Khawaja (91) for a crucial 138-run stand to help settle the ship after Australia had crashed to 8-2.
Smith’s most recent Test century came against India in January 2021. Since then he has batted 14 times in the Test arena and produced seven half-centuries, including scores of 93, 81, 78, and 72.
Smith’s latest half-century helped Australia reach 232-5 at stumps on day one, and Khawaja feels it’s just a matter of time before the star batsman reaches triple figures again.
“I’m sure he’s frustrated in some respects,” Khawaja said. “He is, in my opinion, the greatest batsman I’ve seen in my era, averaging 60 pretty much his whole Test career. I’m still in awe in how many runs he’s scored over a long period of time.
“I find it so funny we’re talking about Steve Smith not scoring 100s, he seems to be getting 70, 80 … and doing it very easily. That’s just the class Steve Smith has. I’m sure once he gets a big score, more big scores [will come]. The fact he’s getting those 60s, 70s, he’s looking really good with the bat.”
Smith was trapped lbw when his bat got caught in the flap of his back pad when he attempted to play Naseem Shah to the leg side.
“I’ve been there, it’s not fun when it happens,” Khawaja said. “It’s almost like in slow motion. You bowl that again and he’s hitting it 99 out of 100 times, or 100 out of 100 times. The bat just got stuck, a little bit unlucky.”
Khawaja’s latest knock took his series tally to 392 runs at an average of 130.66, but he was in struggle town while at the crease on Monday.
“I was a little bit sick. I got some medication from the doc in between breaks,” Khawaja said. “I wasn’t feeling well at all. There were a lot of mind games in between. I just told myself, ‘just keep going, go as long as you can, just keep pushing through’.
“And to push through for five hours – I felt absolutely horrible at the end of the day. I could have easily just gone harder and played a big shot and got out on 20 or 30. So for me to get 90 on the day with the heat, I’m actually really happy with it.”