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Friday, October 23, 2020

‘Bradmanesque’: Records broken by Steve Smith in Ashes 2019

Steve Smith, having missed three innings of the Ashes series and returning to Test cricket after a gap of 16 months, has still managed to come up with the most prolific Test batting performance in at least 25 years.

By: Sports Desk | Updated: September 16, 2019 7:36:57 am
Steve Smith walks back after being dismissed on Day 4 of the 5th Ashes Test at The Oval on Sunday (Reuters Photo)

Steve Smith walked out to boos in this year’s Ashes series but walked off to a standing ovation. Smith fell for 23 on Day 4 of the 5th Ashes Test on Sunday – his lowest score of the series. This was also the only time in the series he failed to cross 50.

Smith ends the series with 774 runs from seven innings at an average of 110.57. The sequence of his scores were 144, 142, 92, 211, 92, 80 and 23.

The Oval crowd applauds Steve Smith as he walks into the pavilion for one last time in this year’s Ashes series. Smith has largely been booed throughout this long English summer. (Reuters Photo)

# This is the highest tally of runs scored by a batsman in a Test series since 1994. Brian Lara had amassed 778 runs in a series 25 years ago.

The previous record for the most runs by a batsman in a Test series in this century had also belonged to Smith – his 769-run tally in the 2014/15 series vs India.

Steve Smith registered 10 consecutive 50+ scores against England in the course of this year’s Ashes series. This is something that no batsman has done before. Against any opposition. Inzamam ul Haq had nine consecutive 50+ scores against England.

# Smith’s 774 runs in this Ashes series is the fifth-highest run tally for a batsman in an Ashes series and the highest run tally since 1989. Higher run tallies have been recorded by Don Bradman (974 runs in the 1930 series), Wally Hammond (905 runs in the 1928/29 series), Mark Taylor (839 runs in the 1989 series) and Don Bradman (810 in the 1936/37 series).

# Smith also joins an elite list of batsmen who have registered more than 700 runs in a Test series more than once. The others who have done this before are Don Bradman, Sunil Gavaskar, Brian Lara, Everton Weekes and Gary Sobers.

Of course, there were two factors which made Smith’s Bradmanesque series even more special. Firstly, he missed three innings of the series. He had been ruled out of one innings with a suspected concussion and then was forced to miss a Test with continuing concerns over the same knock to the head. Secondly, Smith was playing Test cricket after a gap of 16 months.

There is another uncanny parallel that is being drawn with Smith’s Ashes series. Sunil Gavaskar had also registered 774 runs against West Indies in a Test series in 1971 – in a performance that is often considered to be one of the greatest Test batting performances by an Indian. Gavaskar had also missed one Test in that series.

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