From young leader to matchwinner
March 8-12, 2002
A 21-year-old Graeme Smith makes his international debut against Australia at Cape Town. Batting at No. 3, he scores a battling 68 in the second innings, as South Africa suffer a four-wicket defeat.
October 18-21, 2002
Opens the batting and scores exactly 200 in only his fifth Test innings, against Bangladesh at East London.
January 2-5, 2003
Scores 153 against Pakistan at Durban, as he and Herschelle Gibbs put on 368 for the first wicket. It is Smith's second hundred in his eighth Test, and will be his last innings in the ranks.
March 16, 2003
Smith is named Test and ODI captain, replacing Shaun Pollock after a disastrous World Cup. At 22, he is the youngest player ever to captain South Africa.
April 24-27, 2003
Wins his first Test in charge, by an innings and 60 runs against Bangladesh at Chittagong, on the way to a 2-0 series victory.
July 24-28, 2003
A momentous tour for Smith begins with him scoring 277 in the first Test at Edgbaston, an innings that sets a new record for the highest Test score by a South African. In all, Smith scores 362 runs in the match, which ends in a draw.
July 31-August 3, 2003
Another huge score, 259 in the second Test at Lord's (still the highest score by an overseas player at the ground), and this time in a winning cause. Smith's third double-hundred of his young career helps put his side 1-0 up in the series, though England fight back to secure a draw in the fifth Test at The Oval.
January 16-20, 2004
Smith and Gibbs record their third 300-run opening stand in just over a year, against West Indies at Centurion. A ten-wicket victory wraps up Smith's first home series as captain 3-0.
March 26-30, 2004
Scores an unbeaten 125 as South Africa chase 234 to win the third Test against New Zealand at Wellington. Gary Kirsten, now South Africa's coach, retires after the match.
January 13-17, 2005
A setback at home, as England win the fourth Test at Johannesburg to take a 2-1 lead that is enough to secure them the series. Smith, suffering from concussion, scores a defiant 67 not out batting at No. 8 in the fourth innings but Matthew Hoggard takes seven wickets as South Africa are bowled out in 59.3 overs on the final day.
Three consecutive centuries, in Trinidad, Barbadoes and Antigua, help South Africa to a 2-0 win in West Indies. Smith tallies 505 Test runs at 84.16 in the Caribbean.
October 14-17, 2005
Captains the ICC World XI against Australia at Sydney but manages scores of just 12 and 0 in a 210-run defeat.
December 2005-March 2006
Returns to Australia with South Africa, only to lose the three-Test series 2-0; South Africa are then whitewashed 3-0 at home to complete a miserable run of five consecutive defeats to the Australians. Smith averages 25.83 and 18.75 in the two series, while a finger injury rules him out at Johannesburg, ending his unbroken run in the Test side since debut.
January 2-6, 2007
Scores 94 and 55 at Cape Town to lead South Africa to a 2-1 victory against India, having lost the first match of the three-Test series.
October 8-12, 2007
Smith makes his first Test hundred in two-and-a-half years against Pakistan at Lahore.
February 29-March 3, 2008
A world-record opening partnership of 415 with Neil McKenzie sets up an innings victory over Bangladesh at Chittagong, securing South Africa's seventh series victory in a row. Smith's 232 is his fourth double-hundred and comes in his 54th Test as captain, surpassing Hansie Cronje's South Africa record.
July 10-14, 2008
Despite South Africa being forced to follow-on 346 runs behind, Smith scores his second Lord's hundred to help save the first Test of the series against England.
July 30-August 2, 2008
Another milestone as captain. After taking a 1-0 lead at Headingley, South Africa secure a first series victory in England since 1965 by winning the third Test at Edgbaston. Again Smith shows his inspirational qualities - and his affinity for batting in Birmingham - by making 154 not out to lead his side from 93 for 4 to their fourth-innings target of 283.
December 17-21, 2008
Scores 108 in the fourth innings at the WACA as South Africa chase 414 to win the first Test against Australia. It is the second-highest successful run chase in Test history.
December 26-30, 2008
South Africa clinch the series with a nine-wicket win in Melbourne. It is another landmark for South Africa, their first ever series victory on Australian soil, and hands Australia a first home defeat in almost 16 years. Smith scores 62 and 75, extending his margin at the top of the leading runscorers' list for 2008, with 1656.
January 7, 2009
Comes in at No. 11 to bat with a broken left hand and sore elbow as South Africa strive for a draw at the SCG. Smith lasts almost half an hour before being bowled for 3, just minutes from the close.
Australia gain revenge with a 2-1 win in South Africa, to hang on to the No. 1 Test ranking for a while longer. Smith breaks his right hand this time, at Durban, and misses the third Test.
January 3-7, 2010
Makes 183 in the third Test against England at Cape Town but, for the second time in the series, Graham Onions defies South Africa's bowlers in the final overs as the tourists cling to their 1-0 lead.
January 14-17, 2010
South Africa finally make their superiority count, winning the fourth Test at the Wanderers by an innings and 74 runs to tie the series 1-1. Smith's second hundred in consecutive innings - his sixth in total against England - takes him to his highest position of second in the ICC Test batting rankings.
November 12-16, 2010
Against Pakistan in Dubai, Smith goes past Kirsten's total of 7289 runs to become South Africa's second-highest runscorer in Tests, behind Jacques Kallis.
Resigns ODI captaincy after South Africa's quarter-final exit from the World Cup.
November 9-11, 2011
An extraordinary Test at Newlands sees South Africa chase 236 to beat Australia, after trailing by 188 on first innings. Smith's 37 is the top score as South Africa are dismissed for 96 but his side responds immediately by demolishing Australia for 47; Smith then adds another unbeaten, fourth-innings ton to his collection to secure victory.
December 2011-January 2012
Despite a poor personal return for Smith, South Africa beat Sri Lanka 2-1 to record their first Test series win at home for three years.
March 7-11, 2012
Scores his 24th Test hundred in the drawn Test against New Zealand in Dunedin.
Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo