March 8-12, 2002
A positive impression
Graeme Smith, at the age of 21, makes his Test debut against Australia in Cape Town
. He manages just 3 in the first innings but impresses in the second with a solid 68, but in a losing cause. The effort, however, is enough for selectors to retain faith in his ability.
April 6-9, 2002
Early ODI success
Smith is drafted in the ODI side in the same series, and consolidates on his Test performance, striking two fifties, in Port Elizabeth
and Cape Town
, in consecutive games.
October 18-22, 2002
A double to begin with
Smith's first three-figure score, in just his third Test, is a double-ton, against Bangladesh in East London
. With that, he makes that opening slot his own. South Africa cruise home by an innings.
January 2-5, 2003
A productive association
Smith and Herschelle Gibbs form an excellent opening partnership, and the first of several major exploits comes against Pakistan where they add 368 in South Africa's innings win in Cape Town
February 13, 2003
A World Cup call-up
An injury to Jonty Rhodes' hand rules him out
of the 2003 World Cup, giving Smith an opportunity to take his place. He scores a half-century but the campaign ends in disappointment for South Africa, who are knocked out in the league stage. The captain, Shaun Pollock, is the first casualty.
March 16, 2003
A surprise choice
A decision that raises eyebrows - Smith's appointment
as captain, barely after a year in international cricket, is a choice that receives widespread approval some time later. His first ODI as captain, against India in Dhaka
, is a disappointment but South Africa fight back in that tri-series. Things begin well on the Test front, with a win in Chittagong
A career-defining tour
The making of Graeme Smith. Rudely referred to as "what's his name" by Nasser Hussain prior to the first Test at Edgbaston
, Smith replies with vengeance. He smashes 277 and 85 in the drawn game, and follows it up with a match-winning 259 at Lord's
. South Africa are beaten in the final Test and the series is drawn 2-2, but Smith finishes with 714 runs at 79.33 in his first major assignment at the helm.
October 11, 2003
First brush with authorities
A mid-pitch altercation in an ODI involving Smith, Andrew Hall and Mohammad Yousuf (then Yousuf Youhana) results in a ban
for the two South African players. Smith is banned for one ODI and fined 50% of his match-fee.
December 2003-January 2004
Openers continue to pile on
In less than a year, Gibbs and Smith bring up their third 300-plus partnership. West Indies are at the receiving end this time in South Africa's ten-wicket win
, which also gives them the series 3-0 - Smith's first home series win as captain.
Leading by example in New Zealand
Smith makes 41 and an unbeaten 125 to help South Africa chase down 234 and level the three-match series 1-1 against New Zealand in Wellington
. The game is Gary Kirsten's last.
January 13-17, 2005
Defiance in vain
A series win against a formidable opponent continues to elude Smith. Against a resurgent England in Johannesburg
, Smith drops down the order after suffering a concussion. He makes an unbeaten 67 at No.8, but the hosts are blown away by a seven-for from Matthew Hoggard. England go on to win the series 2-1.
February 4, 2005
Maiden ODI century
It takes a while for Smith to notch-up a three-figure score in the 50-over version, but in his 59th ODI
, he helps South Africa scale down 270 against England with 105. South Africa end up winning the series 4-1.
Another fairytale period
After a successful series against Zimbabwe, Smith smacks three centuries in consecutive Tests against West Indies
. South Africa win that series 2-0, in which Smith scores 505 runs at 84.16.
December 2005-March 2006
Australia continue to torment
South Africa fail to win a single Test in five attempts under Smith's captaincy in the back-to-back away
series against Australia. Smith's own form is below-par, averaging 25.83 and 18.75 in the two series.
March 12, 2006
Triumphant in the greatest game
South Africa more than compensate for the defeats in the Tests with a stunning chase
in the fifth and deciding ODI at a packed Wanderers, scaling down 434 off the penultimate delivery. Gibbs is the star with a scintillating 175, but Smith helps in providing an excellent platform with a 55-ball 90.
April 2006-February 2008
A wave of success
Smith begins to achieve some consistency
in terms of results as captain, winning seven Test series in a row in a space of a year-and-a-half. South Africa beat New Zealand twice at home, beat Pakistan home and away, and overcome India, Bangladesh and West Indies. His own batting results are mixed but his twin half-centuries against India in Cape Town
help South Africa win the series 2-1 after being down 0-1.
World Cup disappointment
Amid all the Test success, South Africa flounder again in an ICC tournament. They qualify for the semi-final
of the World Cup in 2007 in the Caribbean, but are mauled by Australia who go on to win the tournament for the third consecutive time. South Africa are also knocked out of the inaugural World Twenty20 at home before the semi-finals.
Creating history, part I
Smith plays a critical role in South Africa's first series win in England since 1965. He scores a century in the Lord's Test
that ends in a draw, his bowlers win him the second at Leeds
and in the third, at Edgbaston
, chasing 283 for victory, he stars with an unbeaten 154 to steer his team home after it had been struggling at 93 for 4 at one stage. The achievement is a prelude to bigger rewards.
December 2008-January 2009
Creating history, part 2
Smith's greatest moment as captain. He leads South Africa to an unprecedented series win in Australia and leaves his mark in each of the three Tests. He scores an unbeaten 108 in South Africa's chase of 414 in Perth
, the second-highest in Tests, and follows up with 62 and 75 in the series-winning game in Melbourne
. In the final Test in Sydney
, he walks out to the middle despite a broken arm and almost saves the Test before being bowled by Mitchell Johnson. Smith's side becomes the first team to inflict a series defeat on Australia in 18 years at home.
August 18, 2010
Farewell to Twenty20 captaincy
After leading South Africa in 27 Twenty20 internationals, Smith announces that he is giving up the captaincy
in this format, and will quit ODI leadership after the 2011 World Cup.