Azhar Ali has revealed why his embarrassing run out was actually doubly as bad.
Azhar’s glittering knock came to an unceremonious end in Abu Dhabi as Pakistan marched towards a crushing victory in the series-decider.
In bizarre scenes early on day three, Azhar convened mid-pitch with Asad Shafiq after an edge to Peter Siddle which flew past gully towards the boundary.
But the ball stopped short of the rope and Mitchell Starc retrieved the ball to wicketkeeper Tim Paine, who removed the bails with an oblivious Azhar stranded well short of his crease.
It mattered little in the end with Babar Azam (99) and Sarfraz Ahmed (81) adding to Australia’s pain as Pakistan set a mammoth target of 538.
But it was very embarrassing for Azhar, not just because of the comical dismissal, but also because his young son had just flown in from the UK to watch him in action.
His 10-year-old son – the eldest of three – had flown in from the UK where he attends boarding school just in time to witness his father’s brain fade.
“They’re going to speak about it for years,” Azhar said with a grin.
“Whenever I say something to them they are going to come back to me about this run out.
“There is no explanation about it. You shouldn’t be not watching the ball for long.
“It was one of those things where neither Asad or I had sight of it … when Tim Paine started to run towards the stumps then I thought there was a little bit something funny about it.”
Former Australian captain Allan Border was scathing of Ali in commentary.
“Total stupidity,” he said. “I don’t know how to describe it. I think we’re all in a bit of shock.”
Border went on to declare that Ali’s inexplicable mistake put Marnus Labuschagne’s run out for Australia in the first innings to shame.
“It’s official — Marnus Labuschagne has been superseded as the dumbest batsman,” Border said.
“We’ll get Marnus and Azhar to make a movie: Dumb and Dumber.”
Azhar’s teammates initially gave him space while he fumed over his dismissal but things lightened up as Babar and Sarfraz piled on the runs.
“Everyone knows that the batsman is going through a lot anyway so no one really came and spoke to me too much about it afterwards,” he said..
“Obviously it was quite serious at that time. The team required bigger partnerships at that time. But when we got that partnership later on everyone started to find the funny side of it as well.”
Australian rookie Marnus Labuschagne was run out after a lapse of his own on day two, paying the price for failing to ground his bat.
The adopted Queenslander was at the non-striker’s end when Starc hit a hard return that legspinner Yasir Shah managed to get a finger to before it clattered into the stumps.