Australia will face one of their biggest Test assignments of 2023 when they travel to India in February for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
On Wednesday, January 11, Australia named their 18-member squad for the upcoming series, with Pat Cummins as the skipper. While the mighty Aussie unit have one of the best bowling units in red-ball cricket, their batting department will be spearheaded by perhaps the best Test batter in the world, Steve Smith.
Having initially made his name as a leg-spinner who can be useful with the bat, Steve Smith has now been a linchpin of Australia's batting for a decade. With over 14,500 runs international runs, he is certainly one of Australia's all-time greats.
Sir Don Bradman is another name that comes to mind when we talk about the greatest Australians of all time. With jaw-dropping Test numbers, Bradman will always be remembered as one of the greatest batters of all time.
Interestingly enough, Smith went past Bradman's tally of 29 Test centuries earlier this month. During the third match of the recently concluded three-game Test series between Australia and South Africa, the 33-year-old scored 104 runs in 192 balls to register his 30th Test ton.
With his sumptuous century in Sydney, Steve Smith became the batter with the joint third-most Test hundreds for Australia.
Due to his recent stellar run in the format, Smith has earned comparisons with the legendary Bradman.
On that note, let's take a look at the three Test records where Steve Smith is only behind the late Sir Donald Bradman.
#3 Most time scoring 750+ runs in a Test series
Mustering 750 or more runs in a single Test series is a remarkable feat for a batter. Sir Bradman achieved this the most times (4) during his notable career.
Below Bradman on the list is Steve Smith, who has scored 750+ runs in two Test series, once against India at home in 2014/15 and the second time against England in the 2019 Ashes.
The only other player to score 750+ runs in a Test series twice is Brian Lara, both times against England (in 1993/94 and in 1995).
If Smith continues his immaculate current form, it won't be surprising to see him equal Bradman's record.
#2 Most centuries in the Ashes for Australia
Another record in which Smith is second only to Bradman is the most centuries for Australia in the coveted Ashes series.
In his 80-inning Test career, Bradman played 37 Tests against his Ashes rivals England. In those matches, 'The Don' smashed 19 centuries, which is still a record for the most hundreds in the Ashes.
In second place for Australia is Steve Smith, who has notched up 11 tons in 56 innings against England. Smith is third overall, behind England's JB Hobbs.
#1 Best batting average in Test history (2500 runs or above)
Bradman's legendary Test career average of 99.94 is a record that most likely won't ever be surpassed. The New South Wales batter amassed 6996 runs at a wondrous average of just below 100 across 80 Test innings.
While it is almost impossible for any cricketer to go past Bradman's Test average, Smith holds the second-best batting average in Tests (among batters who have scored more than 2500 Test runs).
After playing 162 Test innings in his career so far, Steve Smith has mustered 8647 runs at an immaculate average of 60.89.