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Full name O'Neil Gordon Smith
Born May 5, 1933, Boys Town, Kingston, Jamaica
Died September 9, 1959, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England (aged 26 years 127 days)
Major teams West Indies, Jamaica
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm offbreak
Education St. Alban's School; Kingston College
|Test debut||West Indies v Australia at Kingston, Mar 26-31, 1955 scorecard|
|Last Test||Pakistan v West Indies at Lahore, Mar 26-31, 1959 scorecard|
O'Neill Gordon Smith, who died in hospital following injuries received in a motor-car accident, took part in 26 Test matches between 1955 and 1959, scoring 1,331 runs, including four centuries. His death came as a heavy blow to the West Indies, for much had been hoped from him against Peter May's MCC team last winter
Smith's interest in cricket began at the age of seven and, such was his rapid advance, he gained a place in the team at St. Alban's School, Jamaica, when nine and became captain inside three years. Later at Kingston College he progressed still further, but not till 1955 did he first appear for Jamaica. This was against the visiting Australians and he gave full evidence of his quality by playing an innings of 169, he and AP Binns putting on 277 for the sixth wicket. That performance earned him a place in the opening Test match and, by hitting 104 in the second innings, he joined the list of men who obtained a century on Test debut. His success in three other Tests in the series was limited - indeed, he was dismissed for 0 and 0 in the second - but, with characteristic cheerfulness, he did not allow setbacks to deter him and from 1956, when he toured New Zealand, his place in the team was firmly established.
He learned to curb his natural desire to hit at practically every ball, though he never lost his punishing powers, and in England in 1957 he took 161 in the Edgbaston Test, becoming the only batsman to register a century on first appearance against both Australia and England. In the third meeting with England at Trent Bridge he made his highest Test score, 168, doing much to rescue the West Indies from what had seemed a hopeless position. "Collie" Smith was also a useful off-break bowler, having turned from pace to spin after watching Jim Laker during the MCC tour of 1948. During the summers of 1958 and 1959 he achieved marked all-round success as professional to Burnley in the Lancashire League.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack
Wisden Cricketer of the Year 1958