England’s Stuart Broad has dismissed Smith eight times in Test cricket but across 44 innings. Yasir is now only one behind him in the space of 11 innings. It might be unfair to call the modern-day Bradman his bunny but Yasir’s gesture certainly indicated he’s been keeping tally.
The 33-year-old first announced himself to Smith and the Australians on debut in the United Arab Emirates, picking up seven wickets in his first match and collecting 12 for the two-Test series there.
While his lone series in Australia before now wasn’t as fruitful, he still excited crowds with his energy and eccentricity and has already done that again here despite his side heading towards a thrashing.
Yasir’s latest conquering of Smith, who scored only four, came in bizarre circumstances, the Australian maestro yorked by the leg-spinner after an air swing trying to turn the ball through the onside.
Everyone is permitted a bad day and Smith was certainly due one, having sent his Test average soaring beyond 64 during the Ashes. But there was a sense of disbelief around the ground as he trudged off with his lowest Test contribution in three years.
If Pakistan thought that by getting the world’s best batsman out cheaply they would be right in the the first Test they were left sorely mistaken as Marnus Labuschagne compounded their woes with a big maiden hundred.
But the scalp was deserved reward for Yasir, a late bloomer to Test cricket who since reaching the top has made up for lost time, last year becoming the fastest player ever to 200 wickets.
Now, he is very much the senior statesman in a Pakistan attack that aside from him had played only a dozen Tests between them when they arrived at the Gabba.
It’s been tough going in Brisbane – and Yasir was called upon to bowl nearly 50 overs in Australia’s first innings. But he provided something to smile about and, assuming Australia don’t bat again here, will have Smith in his sights again when the series shifts to Adelaide this week.
Chris Barrett is Sports Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald.