Stats prove that Steve Smith is fast becoming new Don Bradman
Australian batsman and vice-captain Steve Smith is fast becoming one of the greats in the game of cricket after yet another extraordinary showing on the Test scene in the most recent Ashes Test against England. But how does he compare to compatriot and the greatest of all time, the late Sir Don Bradman?
Smith currently boasts the second highest batting average for an Australian in history, with 58.52 from his first 58 innings, way ahead of third-placed Greg Chappell (53.86) but also far behind Bradman (99.94).
As things stand in the all-time highest Test batting averages (more than 20 matches), Smith would be in eighth, in front of the likes of Jack Hobbs, Len Hutton, Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara and Jacques Kallis. South Africa’s Graeme Pollock sits second with 60.97.
What is all the more impressive about Smith’s average, is that he only really came to prominence as a batsman around three years after his debut back in 2010, where he was being blooded as a leg-spinning all-rounder down at number eight and nine.
He didn’t manage a century in his first 22 innings, with only five 50s, averaging just 29.52. It wasn’t until the 2013 Ashes in England that he managed his first ton (138 not out), before bagging another two in Australia the next series.
In fact, in his 27 innings since his knock of 115 (his third hundred), he has averaged a whopping 88.91. Meanwhile, his entire career first innings average stands at 96.91, which is the second best in history (1000 runs minimum) – behind Bradman again at 113.66.
So, technically it is England’s fault for awakening the beast and becoming the world number one Test batter with the best average in the world of current players, besides Bangladesh’s Mominul Haque who has featured in just 15 matches.
Smith is also behind Bradman, whose Test career ended in 1948 when he was bowled out for 0 to deny him averaging over 100, in recording the highest first innings total at Lord’s. His brilliant 215 is the second best after The Don’s 254.
However, aged just 26, Smith certainly has time on his side. It seems that there is no limit to his ability, after recording a whopping six centuries and five 50s since last October against the likes of Pakistan, India, West Indies and now England.
He certainly seems totally unfazed by the attention and pressure his form has produced, and on the comparisons recently said: “It’s pretty special to be talked about in the same sentence [as Bradman].
“But for me it’s just about being as consistent as I can and trying to score as many runs as I can. Hopefully this patch goes on for a little while longer.”
After Australia’s 405-run thrashing of England in the current series’ second Test to draw level in the battle over the urn at 1-1, there will no doubt be plenty more Smith can offer in the three remaining matches.
The Sydney-born star, who has 10 test tons to date, is certainly on his his way to being a great of the game, but will he go on to finally surpass Bradman. In terms of average perhaps not, but in influence and achievements very much so.
He is a tempting 3/1 chance with Coral to be best batsman in the first innings for his team again at Edgbaston, that starts on Wednesday July 29th, while the visitors are 5/6 odds-on favourites.
Smith is the odds-on favourite to be top series batsman, meanwhile, at 8/13, with his side 4/9 series chances.