Magellan Ashes 2017-18
Smith soars to equal Sobers landmark
Australia captain equals the legendary Sir Garfield Sobers as second fastest to 6,000 Test runs
Sam Ferris at the SCG
5 January 2018, 04:49 PM AEST
As the shadows of the SCG's floodlights crept across the outfield of the iconic venue, Steve Smith's shadow as one of Test cricket's greatest run-scorers grew ever larger.
With a swivel around the corner off England leg-spinner Mason Crane, Smith picked up the single he required to reach 6,000 Test runs in the second fewest innings ever.
Smith shares the mark with West Indies legend Sir Garfield Sobers, who also got to 6,000 in 111 Test innings, as the Australian acknowledged the standing ovation he received from the packed Sydney crowd.
Smith had seemed certain to hold second spot on his own after reaching 103 in the Boxing Day Test, but his declaration ended the match in draw to leave him 26 runs short on a benign MCG pitch.
As with most records Smith approaches, the only man ahead of him is Sir Donald Bradman, the statistical anomaly, the glitch in the matrix, that nobody will ever conquer.
Bradman recorded his 6,000th run in just his 68th innings, a staggeringly short amount given the conditions he played in and the equipment at his disposal in the first half of the 20th Century.
At 27 years and 217 days, Smith is also the youngest Australian to reach the feat, beating the previous record of 29 years and 98 days held by Smith's first Test captain, Ricky Ponting.
Only three players have arrived at 6,000 Test runs at a younger age than Smith and one of them is in this match.
India legend Sachin Tendulkar was 26 years and 313 days when he passed the mark, ahead of England's Alastair Cook (27 years and 43 days) and former South Africa captain Graeme Smith (27 years, 323 days).
Smith's meteoric rise to the world's best batsman – and the second greatest behind Bradman according to the lifetime ICC Test batsman rankings – has left Test great Steve Waugh in complete awe of the unorthodox right-hander.
"He's been incredible," he said.
"He goes from strength to strength and whenever someone doubts him he comes out the next day and proves them wrong. He's very adaptable and he learns quickly.
"He's a really unique sort of batsman. He almost taunts the bowlers.
"I liken him to a matador in a bull ring. He's got that red rag out there and waving the bowlers to come and bowl here and then all of a sudden he'll make it disappear and get them to bowl somewhere else.
"He really does frustrate the bowlers and tricks them into bowling to him where he wants the ball to come."
2017-18 International Fixtures
Magellan Ashes Series
Australia Test squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Ashton Agar, Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Jackson Bird.
England Test squad: Joe Root (c), James Anderson (vc), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Gary Ballance, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Tom Curran, Ben Foakes, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes.
First Test Australia won by 10 wickets. Scorecard
Second Test Australia won by 120 runs (Day-Night). Scorecard
Third Test Australia won by an innings and 41 runs. Scorecard
Fourth Test Match drawn. Scorecard
Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Scorecard
Gillette ODI Series v England
First ODI MCG, January 14. Tickets
Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Tickets
Third ODI SCG, January 21. Tickets
Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Tickets
Fifth ODI Perth Stadium, January 28. Tickets
Prime Minister's XI
PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Tickets
Gillette T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series
First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Tickets
Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Tickets
Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Tickets
Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 14
Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16
Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18
Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21