Steve Smith is arguably one of the best Test batsmen of the current generation. The top-ranked batsman has surreal stats and always finds a way to score runs. Since making his debut in 2010, Smith has worked hard on his batting and has succeeded in scoring runs in many tough situations.
Among players to have played at least 20 innings, Smith's batting average of 62.84 in 131 innings is only behind that of compatriots Marnus Labuchagne (63.43), and a certain Sir Donald Bradman (99.94). The right-hander has accumulated over 7200 runs in 73 matches, having scored 29 fifties and 26 hundreds.
Bowlers usually find it very difficult to bowl to Smith, thanks to his unorthodox technique. On that note, let us meet five bowlers that have managed to get his wicket most often in red-ball cricket.
#T4 Neil Wagner: 5 times in 8 innings
Neil Wagner is one of the most underrated bowlers of the current generation. He has proved to be a reliable wicket-taking option over the years. The left-arm fast-medium bowler is usually known for his nasty short deliveries. Unlike many other fast bowlers, he is not that swift. But he is highly accurate with his bouncers.
He had a fabulous series against Australia recently. His performance was the only bright spot in an otherwise forgettable series for New Zealand. Wagner took 17 wickets in the three games and scalped the wicket of Steve Smith on four separate occasions.
The left-armer had a simple plan which he executed to perfection. All he did was bowl body-line short deliveries to Smith, with a packed leg-side field, something that other teams may also try to replicate. He had also dismissed Smith once before in a very similar manner, caught on the on-side.
#T4 Rangana Herath: 5 times in 6 innings
Rangana Herath has been one of the most consistent performers for Sri Lanka. Herath has decent numbers in Test Cricket. The willy spinner from the island nation has had great success against many top opposition batsmen.
Herath has bowled to Smith in 6 innings and got him out in 5 of them. The left-arm spinner has troubled the Aussie with deliveries drifting in and then spinning away. Smith has never looked comfortable against the left-arm spinner.
Out of the five dismissals, Herath has got Smith out bowled on two occasions and had him caught once. Smith usually looks to use his feet against spinners. But Herath has managed to beat Smith in the air and get him out stumped twice.
#3 James Anderson: 6 times in 41 innings
James Anderson is one of the finest Test match bowlers in the history of the game. The right-armer has the most wickets in Test cricket by a fast bowler. But his brilliance is much more than these numbers alone would suggest. He has continually troubled many a top batsman in the longest format.
Steve Smith is no exception, which isn't a surprise as the two have faced off in several Ashes series. Anderson has got the better of the former Aussie skipper on six separate occasions. Getting out to a bowler like Anderson 6 times in 41 innings isn't that bad.
Talking about the modes of dismissals, Anderson has got Smith out caught behind the stumps on three occasions and had him bowled, caught, and LBW once each.
#2 Yasir Shah: 7 times in 11 innings
.Yasir Shah is currently the best spinner in the Pakistan Test team. A proven wicket-taker, Shah is the fastest bowler to 200 Test wickets, reaching the landmark in just 33 Test matches. He has troubled batsmen from all over the globe. Two batsmen he has got out the most number of times are Steve Smith and Ross Taylor, both on seven occasions apiece.
Just like Herath, Shah has troubled Smith with his stock delivery that spins away from the batsman. Shah has got Smith out bowled and LBW once each. He has also managed to get his man out caught five times, out of which two were behind the sticks.
#1 Stuart Broad: 8 times in 44 innings
Number one on our list is Stuart Broad, the bowler who Smith has faced the most, in terms of innings. Broad needs no introduction. He is one of the finest bowlers to have ever bowled for the English Test team. He has had some amazing on-field rivalries with many Australian batsmen over the years. Smith is no exception.
The duo comes face to every two years as their respective teams battle it out for the coveted Ashes urn. Broad has bowled to Smith in 44 innings, with the tall fast bowler getting the better of the Aussie on eight separate occasions. Broad has got Smith out bowled two times and has had him caught on the remaining six occasions.Published 10 Apr 2020, 02:26 IST