WTC final: Why Steve Smith, who hit his 31st century in his 97th Test, is the best batsman since Don Bradman


Since the incomparable Don Dradman left the game in 1948 with an other-worldly Test average of 99.94, cricket has seen several great batsmen.

Garry Sobers, Ken Barrington, Viv Richards, Greg Chappell, Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Kumar Sangakkara and Jacques Kallis…the list goes on.

But none of the great batsmen that scored at least 5,000 runs came close to reaching a Test average of 60.

Steve Smith, Bradman’s compatriot, has done just that in his 97-Test-long career in which he has scored almost 9,000 runs.

It’s not just his stunning Test average, his century conversion rate is also incredible.


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The former Australian captain scored his 31st Test hundred today, the second day of the World Test Championship.

It was also his ninth Test hundred against India.

These are phenomenal numbers that have led even his greatest rivals lost for words.

Before the start of the WTC final, Indian superstar Virat Kohli admitted that Smith has been the best Test batsman of this generation.

So what makes Smith such a great Test batsman?

What’s the secret to his amazing consistency in the cricket’s most demanding format?

Brad Haddin, Smith’s former Australian teammate, credits his power of concentration for his amazing success in the five-day format.

“It’s his power of concentration I have to say,” Haddin told espncricinfo during the lunch break on the second day of the WTC final.

“The best players in the game are really good problem solvers. He knows exactly what the opposition is going to do. He has that power of concentration to bat for long periods of time,” added Haddin.

Smith’s 121 against India came off 268 balls as he occupied the crease for 333 minutes before he was dismissed by Shardul Thakur.

It’s an immense effort as Australia was struggling at 76 for three at one stage.

Smith then shared a massive 295-run partnership with Travis Head (163) for the fourth wicket to turn the game in Australia’s favour.

It’s the kind of match-turning effort Smith has produced time and again for Australia.

And all this he has done during the course of his career with an unorthodox technique.

After all, Smith is a cricketer who began his journey as a leg-spinner before shifting his focus to batting.

“He (Smith) is a hands-eye coordination player, his technique at times can look unorthodox, but at the point of contact, he is in a perfect position to hit the ball,” Haddin said.

Smith’s knock has now put Australia in the perfect position to go for victory in the WTC final against India.