Australia v India Tests
Another milestone for prolific Smith
Australia skipper third-fastest in Baggy Green to reach 5000 Test runs during day one in Ranchi
Sam Ferris at JSCA Stadium, Ranchi
16 March 2017, 07:26 PM AEST
Seven years ago Steve Smith was a leg-spinning allrounder yet to wear the Baggy Green.
Today, he is the world’s No.1 Test batsman and the third-fastest - and youngest - Australian to score 5,000 Test runs.
Playing in his 53rd Test, Smith reached the milestone in 97 innings, only two innings more than second-placed Australian Matthew Hayden and a whopping 41 knocks behind the incomparable Don Bradman.
Overall, Smith is the equal-seventh fastest to 5,000 Test runs and only the 11th player to get there within 100 Test innings, a feat greats of the game like Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara and Ricky Ponting failed to achieve.
Entering the third Test, Smith needed 76 runs to arrive at the milestone, ticking off the 5,000th run from his 8,765th ball on the stroke of tea on day one of the third Test in Ranchi.
It’s a remarkable achievement when you consider Smith started his Test career as a leg-spinner batting at No.8 against Pakistan at Lord’s in 2010.
It took the fidgety right-hander 12 Tests to post his maiden century, against England The Oval in 2013, but since then he’s added 17 more hundreds to his glowing record.
In fact, Smith has averaged 70 since that first Test ton three-and-a-half years ago and has risen to the top of the official ICC Test batting rankings.
So prolific has Smith been in recent times that only five other batsman in the history of Test cricket – Bradman, Sir Len Hutton, Sir Jack Hobbs, Ponting and Peter May – have achieved a higher batting rating than Smith’s 939 after the first Test against India in Pune.
Quick Single: How Smith stacks up against the Don
Ponting presented Smith with his debut Baggy Green in 2010 at the Home of Cricket, while it was Ponting whose record Smith today broke as the youngest Australian to reach the 5,000 runs landmark, the 27-year-old achieving the feat about a year earlier than his ex-skipper.
The Tasmanian is widely considered to be Australia’s best batsman since Bradman, but Ponting says Smith has what it takes to one day finish second only to The Don.
"If Smithy keeps maintaining what he's doing now for another 100 Tests then he probably will end up being a better player than me," Ponting told News Ltd in February.
"He's not doing much wrong at the moment, is he?
"I know he's got great passion and got great drive to be the best player he can be and probably the best player the world has ever seen, which is a great attitude to have.
"I wanted to be the best player in the world as well and I wanted to be able to sustain it for a long period of time.
"And that's what really separates the great players; how long you can actually sustain a high level of excellence."
Fastest Australians to 5,000 Test runs
1. Don Bradman – 56 innings
2. Matthew Hayden – 95 innings
3. Steve Smith – 97 innings
4. Neil Harvey – 105 innings
5. Greg Chappell – 106 innings
Fastest overall to 5,000 Test runs
1. Don Bradman – 56 innings
2 . Jack Hobbs – 91 innings
=3. Garfield Sobers – 95 innings
=3. Sunil Gavaskar
=3. Viv Richards
=3. Matthew Hayden