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First test exposed Smith as skipper: Rixon

AAP logoAAP 22/12/2016 Laine Clark

Pakistan assistant Steve Rixon says a tense first Test run chase in Brisbane exposed Steve Smith's vulnerability but defended the Australian skipper against criticism of his captaincy.

Smith came under fire from ex-Test skippers Mark Taylor, Michael Vaughan and Michael Clarke for his tactics after Pakistan just fell short of a world record victory target at the Gabba on Monday.

Smith was slammed for his defensive fields after Australia hung on for a 39-run win despite setting Pakistan a daunting 490 target.

Rixon claimed the dramatic final day run chase exposed Smith as a skipper.

But he dismissed the critics, saying Smith will become a better captain as a result.

"People talking about him and criticising him I think should have a closer look at the situation," Rixon told Sky Sports Radio.

"It did expose his vulnerability as a new captain and that's fine, that's how you learn to get better.

"And he will only be stronger for it.

"I don't have any problems about how he will go about it in the future."

Rixon said Australia's "panicky" demeanour was noted during the absorbing Gabba run chase led by defiant No.6 Asad Shafiq's 137.

"I would have thought they would have turned up thinking 'we are just going to win this, it's only going to take two good balls and that's it'," Rixon said.

"The fight shown by Shafiq and the way he controlled that innings with the tail was just extraordinary.

"I saw a very panicky opposition room."

Rixon said the first Test was also a steep learning curve for Pakistan, but claimed the visitors were now full of belief ahead of the Boxing Day Test.

"It was quite a concern the way we batted in the first innings (all out for 142) and I am sure a few people said 'I'm not sure if these boys are going to be up to it'," Rixon said.

"But the way they adapted and actually took it to the Australians, everything fell into place.

"They started to believe."

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