Is This What It Felt Like To Watch Don Bradman?
Nobody could ever argue that Aussie superbat Steve Smith is better than Sir Donald Bradman.
The Don remains the greatest of all time from any country, despite what a billion or so Indian cricket fans might argue.
But here's the really interesting thing: Steve Smith is giving us that Bradman vibe. For the first time, fans around the world can finally grasp what it must have felt like to see The Don in action.
That feeling that he just won't get out. That he can do anything he wants. That he is like no one else. A sensation that you're watching a force of almost super-natural power.
The above reference to Neo from 'The Matrix' came from Alex Brown, chief communications guy for Cricket Australia, but above all, a bloke who is a complete cricket nuffy.
And he backed it up with a more direct reference to the Smith/Bradman thing. We're with you, Browny. We're starting to understand on a visceral level too.
Fans of all sports generally process greatness like Smith's on two levels.
There's the way it makes you feel, as discussed above. And when words fail us, there is the security blanket of statistics, which are the evidence we use to prosecute our case. The sausage factory behind the sizzle, if you will.
To that end, we've isolated five simple stats to emphasise just how elite Smith's performances have been in recent years, and indeed across his entire career.
- 1. For starters he now averages 64.64 in Test cricket
Which is a lot. Indeed, it's the second-highest of all time (behind Bradman's 99.94, of course) of those who've played 20 or more Test innings.
- 2. He has scored 589 runs and is averaging 147.25 in this series
Again, these are incredible returns from just four innings, one of which was interrupted by a concussion. And remember, this is his first Test series since returning from a ball-tampering ban.
- 3. Here's one you'll like. He scores 50 or more every 2.37 innings
Is this impressive? Yes it is. Bradman sets the benchmark with a score of 50+ every 1.9 innings. But let's take as a benchmark Ricky Ponting, who most considered the best Aussie batter since The Don, before Smith came along. Punter scored 50+ every 2.87 knocks. Smith's ratio is vastly superior.
- 4. Smith has now scored 11 centuries against England
Only three batsmen have amassed as many, or more, centuries against any international opponent -- led of course by Bradman's 19 against England.
And now for a stat you'll really love...
- 5. Jofra Archer has still not dismissed Steve Smith in Test cricket, despite felling him at Lord's and leaving him with concussion.
And if that stat holds, it will go a long way towards Australia retaining The Ashes.