Centurion Butt not brooding over run-outs
Salman Butt atoned for some of the mistakes of the second day with a valuable third Test hundred for Pakistan at the Bellerive Oval. Butt's ton couldn't take Pakistan past the follow-on, but it helped push Australia to bat again in any case, taking a little bit more time out of the Test and improving Pakistan's chances of escaping a 12th successive defeat to the hosts.
Butt was blamed by his captain Mohammad Yousuf in unusually candid sentiments for his "lazy running" which led to two critical run-outs on the second afternoon, of Yousuf himself, and Umar Akmal. Butt, however, played down both the dismissals and notions of a potentially strained relationship with his captain because of it or that his hundred made up for the mistakes.
"When a batsman makes runs in the shape of a century, it is always a good feeling," Butt said. "I don't think it has to do with the run-outs because they are part of the game and we have to carry on. It's not happened for the first time in the game. It happened in the first Test with [Simon] Katich and [Shane] Watson and both were in the 90s. This is part and parcel and you have to carry on and can't think about what has happened."
Butt said he hadn't read what Yousuf had said, ("I didn't ask you," he shot back when a reporter told him anyway) but that the captain - "like an elder brother," Butt said - would have been justified for expressing those sentiments. "I haven't heard anything and even if he has said so it maybe it is because he is the best player in the side and obviously the team needed him at the time," Butt said.
"Anybody in his place would've been like that so I don't mind even if he said something. We've played enough cricket not to think about these small things. Ok this happened, alright he is our best player no doubt and it would've been very good had he stayed on and scored a big hundred but if something has happened you can't keep on moaning about it."
Butt's hundred was his second in Australia, following his maiden one in Sydney five years ago, and two more fifties mean he is the rare modern Pakistani batsmen who has done well against them, in this country. "We haven't played much Test cricket over the last two years," he said.
"Recently we have played about six, so it's like a comeback after a year's lay-off from Test cricket. It is the most difficult cricket that exists. Twenty20 and ODI are much easier formats because this is a Test of everything, your nerves and fitness and the pitch conditions change.
"Maybe the surfaces suit my game. Some of the shots that are my scoring shots are easier to play in Australia than they are in other places. But I haven't played much Test cricket around the world. Out of my 27 Tests, I have played about six here, 5-6 in Pakistan, one in England, five in India so it hasn't been all over the world."
Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo