Steve Smith recreating Don Bradman for those who haven't seen the legend bat
- Steve Smith hit his 3rd Ashes double ton on Thursday
- Smith is only behind Don Bradman in terms of batting averages in the 1st innings of Tests
- Smith's overall batting average is also only second to that of Bradman's
A one year ban. Check. Boos from the crowd every time you walk in to bat. Check. Getting hit on the neck by a Jofra Archer bouncer and then missing a Test due to concussion. Check. After going through all this and much more during the past year or so, on Thursday at Old Trafford, Steve Smith batted as if nothing that happened before counts. By hitting a magnificent 211 in a team total of 497/8, Smith has catapulted himself to heights rarely seen in the game of cricket.
Since his return to top-flight Test cricket last month, Smith's scores read: 144, 142, 92, 211. That's 589 runs at an average of 147.25. The stat which is even more amazing is that Smith now leads the world in Test runs scored this calendar year. Also, no one has scored Test runs this year at even half of his average or a better Strike-rate (after scoring minimum 300 runs). That's a phenomenal achievement for a guy, whose future was anything but certain a year ago.
After watching his closest competitor in world cricket Virat Kohli rack up hundreds for fun from the sidelines since April 2018, Smith has already displaced the Indian captain from the No. 1 Test ranking for batsmen - and that was even before the Old Trafford Test began! Now, this might seem like a bit of a stretch, but it increasingly looks like we might finally have a Don 'Bradmanesque' phenomenon unraveling before our eyes. Read on.
Smith now has 3 double centuries in Ashes Tests. Only Bradman (8) and Wally Hammond (4) lie above him on that list. He also has 11 centuries against England. Only 3 cricketers have scored as many tons against a single opposition: Bradman (19) vs England, Sunil Gavaskar (13) vs West Indies and Jack Hobbs (12) vs Australia. Smith is the only Australia batsman to have scored double-hundreds in England in the last 25 years. Do we have your attention yet?
93.64 - Smith's average in the 1st innings of Tests. This includes 3184 runs in just 39 innings with 16 hundreds. Only the great Bradman (113.66) had a better 1st innings average than Smith in his career. Do read on.
His latest Manchester effort also means that Smith's career average is now 64.64. With 6788 runs in 67 Tests, Smith only lies behind Bradman's astronomical figure of 99.94 in terms of Test batting average.
Smith is now the only batsman to have scored 500+ runs in 3 consecutive Ashes series - 508 runs in 2015 Ashes in England and 687 runs in the 2017-18 home Ashes before his ongoing epic. Bradman scored 500-plus runs in 5 different series, but even he couldn't achieve the feat thrice in a row, not even in his pomp.
If there is one thing these numbers prove beyond doubt, it is this: we finally have a contender to occupy the daylight that separates Don Bradman from the rest. It's time to give Kohli-mania a rest and just revel in the genius that is Steven Smith. Maybe this is how Bradman must have felt like in the 1930s!