Australia legend Shane Warne has criticised Yasir Shah and Pakistan for what he described as negative tactics on day three of the first Commonwealth Bank Test at the Gabba.

The Wide World of Sports commentator, who has mentored the 30-year-old wrist spinner, was left less than impressed by the tourists’ approach in Australia’s second innings.

Shah is the world’s best active leg-spinner and entered the match in Brisbane with 116 wickets from 20 Tests at 27.89.

But Warne, who claimed 708 wickets from 145 Tests during a decorated career, accused Yasir of being a slow learner after he sent down 43.1 overs in the first innings as Australia piled on 429.

“When you play in a new country where you haven’t played and you want to learn how to bowl there, you’ve got to learn from the first innings,” Warne said on Channel 9.

“Yasir Shah bowled 40-odd overs, took a couple of wickets, bowled better than that, but he’s started exactly the same way to the left-handers (in the second innings).

“He’s got a 6-3 field on the on-side and he’s bowling outside leg stump to the left-handers. I just can’t believe that.


“We saw Nathan Lyon turn and bounce the ball, too, so Yasir Shah would have thought, ‘Ok, the question I need to ask myself, how am I getting left-handers out?’

“Bowled, LBW, bat pad, caught slip – you’re not going to get that if you’re bowling a foot outside leg stump.

“I just can’t believe he hasn’t learnt that from the first innings. It’s really disappointing because he’s a smart cricketer.

“He’s the best spin bowler in the world at the moment and he’s just not learning quick enough.”

An attacking slow bowler, Shah was dropped for the second Test of Pakistan’s tour of New Zealand as they opted for a four-pronged pace attack on a green seaming Seddon Park pitch in Hamilton.

Doubt also surrounded Shah’s fitness in the lead up to the first Test after he sent a scare through the Pakistan camp when he pulled up with a back injury ahead of their opening tour match against a Cricket Australia XI in Cairns earlier this month.

Shah was declared fit for his first Test in Australia, but Steve Smith was unconvinced the conditions at the Gabba would be favourable.

“He’s a class bowler. He’s pretty accurate as a leg-spinner, he’s got good skills and we’re going to have to be wary of him in this series,” Australia skipper Smith said.

“At the Gabba you’ll get a bit of extra bounce as a spin bowler, and that can play in your favour as a spin bowler but it can also play against you – your length has to be spot on.

“Generally there isn’t too much turn, it’s more bounce, so length is crucial and if you’re slightly off your length, (batsmen) can really cash in down the wicket and square of the wicket as well.

“So he’s going to have to be pretty accurate.”

Smith scored 40 of his 130 first-innings runs against Yasir, the most off any one Pakistan bowler, while Peter Handscomb also cashed in during his maiden Test century.

Warne said there was enough in the wicket for Shah “to cause the Aussies some real hassle”.

“To use him in a defensive manner, sure there’s a time and place for that, but right now when you’re trying to get back into the game – the only way you can do that is take these wickets,” said Warne, pointing to Australia’s 287-run first innings lead.

“Who’s coming up with these plans? Is it the captain? Is it the bowler? You’ve got to ask the question because it just doesn’t make any sense.”

Pakistan are chasing their first series victory in Australia and has not won a Test here since 1995.

The under-fire Pakistan leg-spinner did hit back to claim the Australian skipper’s wicket on the third afternoon – but not before he has helped Australia extend their lead beyond 400 with a quick-fire 63 from 70 balls.