The best since Bradman? How does Smith do it?


Steve Smith averages 75 in Tests as captain of Australia

The scale of the damage done to England by Steve Smith’s double century in the third Ashes Test is only matched by the sense of inevitability that the Australia skipper would get a monster score when he had only a few runs to his name.

Smith added an unbeaten 229 to the 141 not out he made in the first Test and averages more than 200 in the series. He is winning the Ashes for his country.

Not only that, but he is underlining his status as the number one Test batsman in the world.

And that’s just in the present day. His heavy scoring, consistency and thirst for runs are drawing comparisons with the greatest of them all, Sir Donald Bradman.

The numbers

Smith made his maiden century in the fifth Test against England in August 2013. Since then, he has taken his tally of three-figure scores to 22. No one else has made more than 17 in the same period.

In that timeframe, he averages 72.76. Of other batsmen to have played more than 30 matches in that period, only New Zealand captain Kane Williamson’s 64.89 comes close.

Still, we’re talking about a relatively small sample when you consider the history of Test cricket goes back to 1877.

So consider this: during his merciless torture of the England attack on Saturday, Smith raised his career average to 62.89 – better than all to have ever played the game, with the exception of Bradman.

Think about that. Think of all of the great batsmen. Think of the greatest of the greats – Sachin Tendulkar, Viv Richards, Len Hutton, Brian Lara and Jack Hobbs, to name a few.

Smith has a better average than them all.

All-time top Test batting averages (minimum 20 innings)
D Bradman (Aus)806,99699.9429
S Smith (Aus)1085,78662.8922
A Voges (Aus)311,48561.875
G Pollock (SA)412,25660.977
G Headley (WI)402,19060.8310

The International Cricket Council has applied its ranking system historically, coming up with an all-time list.