Steve Smith has been Australia’s premier batsman in the last couple of years. His contributions as skipper have been immense and his consistency has helped Australia at a time when they are in a transition phase.
On Thursday, in the second Test against Pakistan in Melbourne, Smith continued his brilliant run as he smashed his 17th Test century and his second against Pakistan. In the process, he also became the seventh batsman and the third skipper after Virat Kohli and Alastair Cook to go past 1000 runs in 2016. Smith’s achievement of 1000 runs in a calendar year puts him in a very prestigious club of batsmen who have achieved this feat. (SCORECARD)
Consistently over 1000
Smith has gone past 1000 runs in a calendar year for the third consecutive time. His golden patch started in 2014 when he smashed 1146 runs at an average of 81.85. The year was punctuated with five centuries. His batting touched another level in 2015 when he scored 1474 runs at an average of 73.7. In that year, he hit six centuries, including a magnificent 215 in the Ashes Test against England in Lord’s. With 2016 coming to an end, Smith went past 1000 runs for the third consecutive time as he smashed his fourth hundred of the year.
Smith’s feat of scoring over 1000 runs in a calendar year three consecutive times puts him in great company. He joins Brian Lara, Marcus Trescothick and Kevin Pietersen as the batsmen to have hit 1000 runs in three consecutive calendar years. Former Australian opener Matthew Hayden has achieved this the most number of times, having scored over 1000 in five consecutive calendar years. From 2001 to 2005, Hayden scored 1391, 1160, 1312, 1123 and 1380 respectively.
Lord of the MCG
Steven Smith loves to play the Boxing Day Test at the MCG. Consider his scores in the last two Tests he has played at this venue against India and West Indies. It reads 192, 14, 134*, 70* and 100*. In the last three innings, he has not been dismissed. In three Tests, he has scored 573 runs at a staggering average of 114.6.
He has scored a hat-trick of hundreds at the MCG. The highest average at this ground is held by Sir Donald Bradman, who scored 1670 runs in 11 Tests at a whopping average of 128.53. The feat also includes a record nine hundreds, which is the most in one venue in Australia. As captain, Smith’s average in Melbourne jumps to 255.
Smith, Warner move up the ranks
Both Smith and David Warner scored centuries in the Melbourne Test. Incredibly, both notched up their 17th century in Tests. While Warner did it in 59 Tests, Smith has achieved this feat in just 49 Tests, meaning a century in every three Tests. Incredibly, whenever Smith has scored a century, Australia have rarely lost. Out of 17 centuries, Australia have lost only once and that was against Sri Lanka at the SSC ground in Colombo in which Smith scored 119. Thanks to this hundred, Smith’s overall Test average is near 60 while in Australia, his average is close to 70.
With only one day to go in the MCG Test and with Australia taking the lead against Pakistan thanks to Smith’s ton, chances of a result look bleak. However, Smith’s century confirmed his class as one of the modern-day greats, along with Virat Kohli, Joe Root and Kane Williamson.