Babar Azam, test batter, perfectly encapsulated in the two entries of this test. In the first, he played a shot that invites to despise the idea that he can be a test hitter. In the second, he played a possibility that invites to despise those who doubt that he can be a test hitter.
Ultimately, he fell short of a hundred-year-old maid and if we're being snobbish about it, maybe it's better than walking. For a man of his talent, a hundred maiden could look better in more difficult circumstances.
Still, Babar's promise is such that you can imagine him playing identically if Pakistan would have been 97 for 4. It was. as have been his most notable entries in the tests, a consummate hand: no problems, elegant, minimalist, and then you wake up with a shot so pristine that you struggle to forget it.
This year, finally, there have been signs that he is very slowly figuring out the cricket test. They have given him a long enough rope, but 99 was a third fifty in his last four tests. He has an average of 54 from a small sample and they are not world figures, but since he averaged 16 last year with five ducks in 12 innings, Pakistan will take it.
"I'm still waiting [for the 100]" he said. "I lost it today and I'm very disappointed." That hurts.
"But I hope that in the next series I want to change that. I have not changed anything from my test game. I keep playing like I usually do, but maybe I'm a little more positive. "If I go for a shot, then I just decided to go for it and not think too much about it."
That positive attitude was counterproductive for him in the first few innings. The second ball fell, thrown by Nathan Lyon. After having danced to try to take him to the middle of the road, he was part of a Pakistan collapse of 4-0 in six balls and his dismissal, along with that of Azhar Ali, came under particular scrutiny.
"There was no pressure after that first dismissal, our plan was that if Nathan Lyon played half and half up, we would take a chance, maybe I was too early, maybe I should have had more set and that would have been better "
This is now Babar's highest score in the exam, but his fifty years in Lord & # 39; s and Malahide in the summer, as well as the undefeated. 90 in Hamilton in 2016, are probably all the best entries due to the conditions and circumstances in which they were created.
But all together, they suggest that it's only a matter of time before it has a good format, before it starts putting together the numbers it has in the white-ball cricket.
"Today it was not so easy to play in that field, because there were so many shifts, I needed to take a little time and then I started playing the game according to how I play." The association with Sarfraz was important.
"No I think there is no particular problem in the format [Test]. It's just that some decisions have been against me, sometimes I have not done what I'm trying to do. , or I went to something and left
"I do not think too much about that, I know I just have to go out and act."