Pat Cummins was chuffed to hear Tim Paine rates him as a contender to be Australia’s next Test captain, but the gun paceman says the topic remains a moot point while the keeper is still playing.
One of the more remarkable modern-day stats is over after star Australian batsman Steve Smith was dismissed for 16 against New Zealand on Saturday.
Smith entered the Australian summer having never gone three consecutive Tests without scoring a half-century during his entire career.
No other batsman in the game’s history who has averaged above 50 and has played 20 or more Tests has achieved such a feat.
Even the great Sir Donald Bradman went three straight Tests without a half-century in the 1934 Ashes – the only time in his career.
He responded by cracking 304 and 244 in his next two innings.
Smith was starved of opportunities in the 2-0 series win over Pakistan, scoring four and 36 in his only two digs.
It meant the pressure was on Smith to get back to his run-scoring ways in the day-night Test against NZ at Optus Stadium.
Smith scored a painstaking 43 off 164 balls in the first innings before falling to a leg trap trying to pull Neil Wagner.
And the 71-Test veteran was out for just 16 in the second dig when he pulled Wagner to square leg.
The run of three straight Tests without a half-century is a far cry from his Ashes heroics, when he plundered 774 runs at an average of 110.6.
Smith is still viewed as the best batsman in the world despite his recent lean run, but all eyes will be on him during the Boxing Day Test to see if he can end his drought of half-centuries.
Steve Smith’s scores this summer
4 v Pakistan in the first Test in Brisbane
36 v Pakistan in the second Test in Adelaide
43 & 16 v NZ in the first Test in Perth