Birthday boy Smith among batting greats

As he celebrates a milestone 30th birthday, we take a statistical look at Steve Smith's stunning Test achievements

Adam Burnett

2 June 2019, 02:20 PM AEST

It has been a forgettable 12 months for Steve Smith but the superstar Aussie batsman can nonetheless lay claim to boasting one of the all-time great Test batting records as he celebrates his 30th birthday.

Smith is one match into Australia's World Cup defence, and the unorthodox right-hander – who turns 30 today (Sunday) – was clearly frustrated by his dismissal for 18 from the penultimate ball of his team's first-up success against Afghanistan in Bristol on Saturday.

Smith was central to Australia's triumph at the 2015 World Cup and looms as a pivotal figure in their defence, particularly given his irresistible lead-up form in recent weeks, capped by a fine hundred against tournament favourites England.

On this milestone day for the former national captain however, it is worth reviewing his Test record – the format in which he has most excelled – and assessing where it places him in the pantheon of batting greats.

Dec 2017: Extended highlights of Steve Smith's 239

A list of Test cricket's most productive batsmen before turning 30 reveals some familiar and predictable faces. The legendary Sachin Tendulkar – who made his Test debut at 16 – sits atop the pile, with recently-retired England captain Alastair Cook trailing him closely.

Most Test runs before 30

Sachin Tendulkar (Ind) | Runs: 8,811 | Ave: 57.58 | 100s: 31 | 50s: 35 | HS: 217

Alastair Cook (Eng) | Runs: 8,423 | Ave: 46.02 | 100s: 25 | 50s: 38 | HS: 294

Graeme Smith (SA) | Runs: 7,457 | Ave: 49.71 | 100s: 22 | 50s: 29 | HS: 277

Jacques Kallis (SA) | Runs: 7,420 | Ave: 57.07 | 100s: 22 | 50s: 37 | HS: 189no

AB de Villiers (SA) | Runs: 6,966 | Ave: 51.98 | 100s: 18 | 50s: 35 | HS: 278no

Smith's 6,199 runs put him 11th on this list – a remarkable feat given he didn't score his first Test hundred until after his 24th birthday, and he didn't play a single Test in the final year of his 20s.

But it is when this list is determined by average that his record truly stands out.

Only 27 batsmen in Test history have posted 5,000 runs before turning 30 (the list reads as a who's who of the game's greats) and among them, Smith's average of 61.37 is second to Sir Donald Bradman (97.94), who had by that point in his career collected 5,093 of his final tally of 6,996 Test runs.

Highest Test ave before 30 (min 5,000 runs)

Don Bradman (Aus) | Runs: 5,093 | Ave: 97.94 | 100s: 21 | 50s: 8 | HS: 334

Steve Smith (Aus) | Runs: 6,199 | Ave: 61.37 | 100s: 23 | 50s: 24 | HS: 239

Sachin Tendulkar (Ind) | Runs: 8,811 | Ave: 57.58 | 100s: 31 | 50s: 35 | HS: 217

Jacques Kallis (SA) | Runs: 7,420 | Ave: 57.07 | 100s: 22 | 50s: 37 | HS: 189no

Virat Kohli (Ind) | Runs: 6,331 | Ave: 54.57 | 100s: 24 | 50s: 19 | HS: 243

Such has been Smith's dominance in recent years, that he remains in fourth spot on the ICC's Test batting rankings, despite having not played the format in 14 months. When he was banned for a year by Cricket Australia, he occupied top spot – a position he will have the chance to return to from August 1, when the five-Test Ashes series in the UK begins.

The best of Smith's remarkable Ashes

In the meantime, the birthday boy's focus will be on the World Cup, which continues for the Australians against West Indies on Thursday at Trent Bridge.

"I'm not reading too much into it, they're just practice games at the moment," he said a week ago of his hundred against England.

"Hopefully I can keep this form for the real stuff … I am feeling good, I'm feeling calm at the crease and hitting the right balls I want to the boundary."

2019 World Cup

Australia's squad: Aaron Finch (c), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa

June 1: Australia beat Afghanistan by seven wickets

June 6: Australia v West Indies, Trent Bridge

June 9: India v Australia, The Oval

June 12: Australia v Pakistan, Taunton

June 15: Sri Lanka v Australia, The Oval

June 20: Australia v Bangladesh, Trent Bridge

June 25: England v Australia, Lord's

June 29: New Zealand v Australia, Lord's (D/N)

July 6: Australia v South Africa, Old Trafford (D/N)

July 9: Semi-Final 1, Old Trafford

July 11: Semi-Final 2, Edgbaston

July 14: Final, Lord's

For a full list of all World Cup fixtures, click HERE