July 24, 2003

Smith makes an early impression

Wisden CricInfo staff

Age is only a number, as Steve Waugh and Alec Stewart have been telling us all for several years now. But when Graeme Smith was appointed as South Africa's new captain at the age of 22, several eyebrows were instantly raised. Smith, though, has answered his critics in the manner he knows best, and today at Edgbaston he became the youngest captain to score a Test century.

The following captains have scored Test centuries before the age of 24:

Age      Name                Score            Match

22 173 GC Smith 178* SA v Eng Birmingham 2003 22 273 Javed Miandad 106* Pak v Aus Faisalabad 1979-80 23 39 Nawab of Pataudi jr 203* Ind v Eng Delhi 1963-64 23 255 SR Tendulkar 169 Ind v SA Cape Town 1996-97 23 273 Nawab of Pataudi jr 128* Ind v Aus Madras 1964-65

If that wasn't enough, Smith has secured another record, in conjunction with Herschelle Gibbs. That pair added 368 for the first wicket in the Test against Pakistan at Cape Town earlier this year, and today, with their stand of 338, Gibbs and Smith became the first opening pair to make two triple-century Test partnerships. They are only the second pair to have achieved that feat for any wicket, after Bill Ponsford and Don Bradman, who added 388 for Australia's fourth wicket and 451 for the second, in successive Tests against England at Leeds and The Oval in 1934.

Gibbs also shared an unbeaten partnership of 315 for the second wicket with Jacques Kallis against New Zealand at Christchurch in 1998-99. He thus joins Javed Miandad in having shared in three triple-century Test partnerships. Only Don Bradman (5) has had a share in more.