Azam’s abilities as a Test batsman has been previously questioned, but recent performances show he is just about ready for the longest format and a century against the Australians might have helped confirm that.
In his last four Tests, he has averaged over fifth and scored three half centuries, including the 99 against Australia. This after his previous 12 innings produced five ducks.
"I'm still waiting for the 100," Azam told Cricinfo. "Missed it today and am very disappointed. That hurts.
"But hopefully in the next series I want to change that. I haven't changed anything about my Test game. I'm still playing as I do usually but maybe I am just a little bit more positive. If I'm going for a shot, then I've just resolved to go for it and not think too much about it."
His ever-present positive attitude though had him in a lot of danger in the first innings when he tried to take the attack to Nathan Lyon and was part of an astounding collapse where they lost four wickets in six balls.
"There wasn't any pressure after that first-innings dismissal. Our plan was that if Nathan Lyon bowled with mid-off and mid-on up, we would take a chance on that. Maybe I went too early, maybe I should've gotten more set and that would've been better."
This inning of 99 is Azam’s highest score in Test cricket, and while he likely to rank the half-centuries against England and New Zealand higher, there is no doubt he is settling into the red-ball format well.
"It wasn't so easy to play on that pitch today, because there was plenty of turn. I needed to take a bit of time and then started to play the game according to how I play. The partnership with Sarfraz was important.
"I don't think there is any particular problem in the [Test] format. It's just that some decisions have gone against me, sometimes I haven't done what I am trying to do, or I've gotten close to something and gotten out.
"I don't think too much about it. I know that I just have to go out there and perform."
First Published: October 19, 2018, 8:39 AM IST