<
>

Smith continues his prolific run

Steven Smith became the third quickest batsman ever to 23 Test hundreds. ESPNcricinfo Ltd

Steven Smith became the first Australia captain since Don Bradman in 1938 to get three or more centuries in an Ashes series when he reached his century in the second innings of the MCG Test. Smith's innings made sure Australia batted long enough for a draw - the first in the Ashes in 14 Tests. Overall, he is only the fourth captain to make three hundreds in an Ashes series. Bradman achieved this twice - in the Ashes series in England in 1938 and at home in 1936-37; Warwick Armstrong also managed it for Australia, while David Gower is the only England captain to do so.


This was Smith's 23rd Test century and it has come in just 110 innings. Only two other batsmen were quicker to 23 Test hundreds than him. Bradman took only 59 innings to get there and Sunil Gavaskar took just one innings fewer than Smith. This was Smith's 15th hundred in only his 53rd innings as Australia captain. Only four others have hit 15 or more Test hundreds as captain and the quickest before Smith to 15 hundreds was Steve Waugh, who took 74 innings.

Smith also completed 3000 runs in Tests at home. He was playing only his 49th Test innings in Australia. Only Bradman has been quicker to 3000 Test runs at home than Smith. Javed Miandad also took 49 innings to complete 3000 runs at home.

Much like how his Test career has panned out, Smith's performance in the Ashes series has also gone on overdrive of late. The last two Ashes series have seen Smith make five hundreds in just 15 innings. He has made 1112 runs at an average of 85.53 since the start of the 2015 Ashes in England. Before that series, Smith had made 831 Ashes runs at an average of 37.77.


In spite of an indifferent early Ashes career, his eight hundreds in the series have come in just 40 innings. Only nine other batsmen have hit as many centuries in the Ashes and no one to have played in the last 50 years has been as prolific as Smith in making hundreds in the series.


Smith finishes off this calendar year having scored 1305 runs at an average of 76.76. There are six other captains who have accumulated more runs in a calendar year and two of them - Michael Clarke in 2012 and Ponting in 2006 - have done so at a better average than Smith. But few batsmen have had such a prolific run over a period of four years: this is his fourth year in succession when he has made over a 1000 Test runs at an average of over 70. No other batsman has managed to score 1000-plus runs at an average of 50 or more in more than three successive years. In four years from 2014 to 2017, Smith has made 5004 runs at an average of 75.81. Only Ricky Ponting - with 5077 runs at an average of 72.52 from 2003 to 2006 - has managed more runs in any four-year period than Smith.