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There's no limit to Steve Smith's inspiration as captain

Steve Smith is leading a team of bullies. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Expert
27th November, 2017
3

Steve Smith’s unbeaten 141 at the Gabba was just another example of why the skipper is such a priceless asset to the baggy greens.

It wasn’t the first by a long shot, and it sure won’t be the last.

With Australia’s brittle batting a well-known factor, at 4-76 chasing England’s 302 there was every chance the Australians could have been 150-plus in arrears on the first dig.

The skipper shared a crucial 99-run stand with Shaun Marsh and an even more telling 66-run partnership with Pat Cummins which turned a potential big deficit into a handy 26-run lead.

Steve Smith inspired.

Sir Donald Bradman, the greatest batsman to ever don pads, did that repeatedly. But there was only one Don. He was the icon and the rest of the world are daylights adrift and will be forever.

However, Steve Smith has become one of the world’s best in the history of Test cricket. To prove the point, The Don batted 80 times for 10 not outs with a career average of 99.94.

Smith’s first 80 times at bat netted 11 not outs, at an average of 59.29, right up there among the best of the rest. The Don scored two triple Test tons, 10 doubles, and 17 centuries – Smith one double, and 15 centuries.

There’s obviously no comparison, but comparing Steve Smith with the rest of the world is a fair call.

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I have taken the highest career Test run-makers, those owning the best Test averages, and the current top ten ranked Test batsmen to see where Smith stands.

With The Don well ahead, Smith is the fifth-highest ranked in the history of the grand old game.

To complete the picture, I have combined career Test centuries with half-centuries and divided that figure with completed career innings.

That gives a percentage of 50-pluses per 100 visits to the crease.

The Don obviously heads the list with three 50-plus digs for every five completed digs – a phenomenal strike rate.

And that includes his worst failure streak of 11 consecutive digs over 14 months during the 1933-1934 period without a century and only three pluses.

But all 11 digs were in double figures.

Steve Smith comes in fifth in the history of Test cricket, the best of the modern era, and second only to The Don among the Australians.

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Steve Smith

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

A massive recognition.

The stats:

(1) Sir Donald Bradman, average 99.94 with 70 completed Test digs, 29 centuries, and 13 half-centuries for a strike rate of 60 per cent,

(2) Herbert Sutcliffe – 61.87 – 24 – 5/4 – 52 per cent.

(3) Graeme Pollock – 60.97 – 37 – 7/11 – 48,65.

(4) Ken Barrington – 58.67 – 116 – 20/35 – 47.41.

(5) Steve Smith – 61.23 – 90 – 21/21 – 46.67.

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(6) Joe Root – 53.35 – 101 – 13/33 – 45.54.

(7) Sir Jack Hobbs – 56.95 – 95 – 15/28 – 45.26.

(8) Lokesh Rahul – 45.83 – 31 – 4/10 – 45.16.

(9) Sir Everton Weekes – 58.67 – 76 – 15/19 – 44.74.

(10) Sachin Tendulkar – 15921 runs – 296 – 51/68 – 43.58.

(11) Sir Clyde Walcott – 56.69 – 67 – 15/14 – 43.28.

(12) Jacques Kallis – 13289 – 240 – 45/58 – 42.92.

(13) Eddie Paynter – 59.23 – 26 – 4/7 – 42.30.

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(14) Sir Leonard Hutton – 56.67 – 123 – 19/33 – 42.28.

(15) Kane Williamson – 51.16 – 100 17/33 – 42.00.

(16) Dudley Nourse – 53.82 – 55 – 9/14 – 41.81.

(17=) George Headley – 60.83 – 36 – 10/5 – 41.67.

(17=) Kumar Sangakkara – 57.40 – 25 – 38/52 – 41.67.

(17=) Greg Chappell – 53.86 – 132 – 24/31 – 41.67.

(20) Shivnarine Chanderpaul – 11867 – 231 – 30/66 – 41.56.

(21) Javed Miandad – 52.57 – 159 – 23/43 – 41.51.

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(22) Allan Border – 11174 – 221 – 27/63 – 40.72.

(23) Sir Garfield Sobers – 57.78 – 139 – 26.30 – 40.29.

(24) Ricky Ponting – 13378 – 258 – 41/62 – 39.92.

(25) Sunil Gavaskar – 10122 – 198 – 34/45 – 39.90.

(26) Mike Hussey – 51.53 – 121 – 19/29 – 39.67.

(27) Rahul Dravid – 13288 – 254 – 36/63 – 38.98.

(28) Steve Waugh – 10927 – 214 – 32/50 – 38.32.

(29) Azhar Ali – 46.62 – 110 – 14/27 – 37.27.

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(30) David Warner – 48.48 – 120 – 20/25 – 37.50.

(31) Walter Hammond – 58.45 – 124 – 22/24 – 37.10.

(32) Hashim Amla – 49.87 – 172 – 28/35 – 36.63.

(33) Cheteshwat Pujara – 52.26 – 80 – 1316 – 36.25.

(34) Mahela Jayawardene – 11614 – 237 – 34/50 – 35.44.

(35) Vinod Kambli – 54.20 – 20 – 4/3 – 35.00

(36) Alastair Cook – 11638 – 253 – 31/55 – 33.99.

(37) Younis Khan – 10099 – 194 – 27/38 – 33.51.

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(38) Charles Davis – 54.21 – 24 – 4/4 – 33.33.

(39) Virat Kohli – 50.12 – 95 – 18/14 – 33.68.

(40) Brian Lara – 11953 – 226 – 48/17 – 28.76.