Qantas Tour of South Africa
Safe-hands Smith equals a Test record
With five catches in the Proteas first innings, the Aussie skipper joined an elite list of Test fielders
Sam Ferris at Newlands, Cape Town
23 March 2018, 08:49 PM AEST
Steve Smith can claim to have the safest hands in cricket after the Australia captain equaled the world record for the most catches by a fielder in a Test innings.
Smith snapped up five catches in South Africa's first innings at Newlands to join an elite group of 11 members with only one other Australian – Victor Richardson, who was the first to achieve the feat against the Proteas in 1936.
The 27-year-old's quintet of catches began in the fourth over of the match when he dived low and to his left in front of first slip to remove South Africa opener Aiden Markram for a duck.
He had to wait 62 overs for his next chance but when it came he made no mistake, holding on to a sharp chance at second slip from the blade of his Proteas counterpart Faf du Plessis.
His third catch was a routine grab, again at second, as Pat Cummins found the edge of Temba Bavuma's bat, having worked over the returning batsman amid his brilliant spell.
While his first three catches were spread out and off the quicks, his final two came in a span of five balls from the bowling of off-spinner Nathan Lyon.
Standing at first slip, Smith devoured catches from tailenders Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel to end South Africa's innings on 311 on the second morning in Cape Town.
Speaking before play, Smith told cricket.com.au how pleased he was to have taken the chances that came his way on Thursday.
"You've always got to be focused and ready for the opportunities, particularly on a good wicket when guys are playing well," said Smith, who now has 95 catches in 64 Tests.
"You want to be able to make that game-changing sort of play.
"It was nice to hold on to a few yesterday. I dropped a few throughout the summer so it was nice to hold onto a few yesterday."
Non-wicketkeepers with five catches in a Test innings
Victor Ricahrdson (Aus), 1936 v South Africa, Durban
Yajurvindra Singh (India), 1977 v England, Bengaluru
Mohammad Azharuddin (India), 1989 v Pakistan, Karachi
Kris Srikkanth (India), 1992 v Australia, Perth
Stephen Fleming (NZ), 1997 v Zimbabwe, Harare
Graeme Smith (SA), 2012 v Australia, Perth
Darren Sammy (WI), 2013 v India, Mumbai
Darren Bravo (WI), 2014 v Bangladesh, Kingstown
Ajinkya Rahane (India), 2015 v Sri Lanka, Galle
Jermaine Blackwood (WI), 2015 v Sri Lanka, Colombo
Steve Smith (Aus), 2018 v South Africa, Cape Town
Qantas tour of South Africa
South Africa squad: Faf du Plessis (c), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Theunis de Bruyn, Dean Elgar, Heinrich Klaasen, Quinton de Kock, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Duanne Olivier, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, AB de Villiers.
Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Chadd Sayers, Mitchell Starc.
Warm-up match: Australia beat South Africa A by five wickets. Report, highlights
First Test Australia won by 118 runs. Scorecard
Second Test South Africa won by six wickets. Scorecard
Third Test Newlands, Cape Town, March 22-26. Live coverage
Fourth Test Wanderers, Johannesburg, March 30-April 3. Live coverage