Virat Kohli vs Steve Smith – A statistical comparison in Test cricket
When Steve Smith joined the Australian international squad as a leg-spinner way back in 2010, none of the cricket pundits would have predicted that the New South Wales-based player would go on to become the modern-day Don Bradman of Test cricket. The Australian has troubled almost all the bowlers of the world with his unique batting technique.
At the time when Smith came into the international circuit, a young Virat Kohli was trying to cement his place in the Indian team. He had done well in the limited-overs format but, the Delhi-born player had to wait until June 2011 to represent India in Test cricket.
Eight years down the line, Virat Kohli and Steve Smith are fighting for the coveted No.1 spot in the ICC Test Rankings for batsmen. Currently, Smith is leading Kohli by just one point however, we can expect the Indian star to overtake his Aussie counterpart soon.
The Test rankings are usually decided on the basis of the current form of the players. Hence, we will have a look at the some vital batting stats of their entire Test careers -
Most Test Runs and 100s
First and foremost, we will have a look at the overall Test aggregate, batting average and the number of Test hundreds of the two batsmen.
Virat Kohli has played 79 Test matches, where he has batted in 135 innings and amassed 6,749 runs at an average of 53.14. He has slammed 25 hundreds in his illustrious Test career. On the other hand, Smith has played in 67 Test matches, scoring 6,870 runs and his batting average is 64.81. The Australian player has hit 26 hundreds in just 122 innings.
In this department, Smith is one better than King Kohli.
Temperament is one of the most important things in Test-match cricket and batsmen should have the patience to build a big innings to help his team post a massive score. While a hundred maybe a big milestone in ODI cricket, it is not equally big in Test cricket where double and triple centuries are achieved by the best.
The number of double hundreds indicates the batsman’s patience levels and the Indian skipper has improved his game over the last three years to record six double hundreds in Test cricket. All of these big knocks have come after 2015. Steve Smith has three double centuries in his name and his highest score is 239.
In terms of double hundreds, king Kohli is ahead of the Australian batsman.
Most Runs in Asia vs Most Runs outside Asia
Steve Smith being an Australian batsman, has a habit of playing on wickets which support the pace and bounce whereas Virat Kohli grew up batting on pitches which favoured the spinners. Hence, it would be good to compare the numbers of both the players when they are out of their comfort zone.
The former Australian captain has played 13 Test matches in subcontinental conditions where he has scored 1,200 runs at an average of 48. It is noteworthy that Smith’s average drops considerably when he plays in Asia.
Virat Kohli has represented India in 38 Test matches outside Asia. The Delhiite has aggregated 3,236 runs in these matches, averaging 47.24.
Comparing the numbers of the two batsmen, we can conclude that Smith has a better record in Asia as compared to Kohli’s record outside Asia, though only marginally.
The two batsmen have almost similar records in Test cricket but when we make use of the top three parameters of this format to compare their numbers, Steve Smith emerges to be a better batsman, but it's still neck and neck between the two modern greats.
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