Pakistan v South Africa, 2nd Test, Dubai, 2nd day October 24, 2013

A colossal innings from a colossal cricketer

One first-class innings in six months, the heat of the Middle East, his team 1-0 down in the series, probing left-arm quicks and spinners. It would have been enough to overwhelm many players, but Graeme Smith rose magnificently to the challenge
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Graeme Smith took three purposeful strides out of his crease, steered his bat with a heavy bottom-hand, met the delivery with the lower-third of it, cleared midwicket and saw the opportunity to take two runs. As he turned for the second, he was facing his team-mates. They rose to their feet, he raised his arms. Then, he took his helmet to reveal that expression - square-jawed scowl.

If captured in isolation, it could be mistaken for pain or exhaustion. When understood in its context, it is the face of someone who values the rewards their own determination can bring. Smith's fifth double-hundred, which included the 9000th run of his decade-long Test career, should be decisive in ensuring South Africa win the Test match, share the series and maintain their seven-year unbeaten streak on the road. All of that was written on his face when he brought up the landmark.

Smith's name is not often mentioned when all-time greats are discussed but this innings was another illustration of why it should be. It was a test of skill and stamina, starting with an examination by the type of bowlers Smith least prefers facing - left-arm quicks - and culminating with a counterpunch to the elements of high heat and humidity which would have melted a less resilient man.

Mohammed Irfan threatened to dismantle Smith first, smacking him on the pads as he moved across to try and hit through the leg side and then slicing him in half with a delivery that rose off a good length. Smith was uncomfortable, maybe even a little rattled, but immovable.

Then he had Saeed Ajmal, who drew him forward and turned the ball away from him to beat the outside edge multiple times, to contend with. Ajmal kept teasing, Smith kept swatting him away and then, drove him down the ground. That shot, played before tea on the first afternoon, was the stroke that indicated Smith had his eye in.

He has previously revealed he knows he is in a good batting mindset when he is able to drive straight. By the end of play on the opening day, Smith had brought up his half-century with two boundaries unfurled down the ground. By stumps on the second day, 30% of his runs had come in the V which is a considerable portion for him. As way of a basic comparison, in his previous hundred, the 122 at Adelaide, just 9% of the runs were in that area.

His runs down the ground in this innings included the shot he brought up his century with, cleanly and confidently struck off Ajmal. It also contained the hoist over mid-on, to bring up 150. Both those demonstrated how well Smith had settled in against the spinner and how assured he was in his own ability to step out and meet them.

When he walked off the field, ankle intact despite concerns and the run bank refilled after a lengthy absence from the game, Smith could work tall having ticked off another feat

For the rest, there was an expected amount of hacking. Smith's un-pretty technique is cricket's version of a butcher slicing with the grain instead of against it. Meat fibres are flayed awkwardly; chewing, swallowing and even digesting is a test for the system rather than an experience of culinary delight, but for the hungry it does the job as well as a perfectly carved and seared piece of meat would.

And Smith was starved. He spent six months out of the game recovering from ankle surgery and on a lifestyle program that saw him lose 12 kilograms. He batted once in a competitive situation before arriving in the UAE and spent just 15 balls at the crease in the warm-up match. He was not "out of form," as Mohammad Akram said because he did not have enough game time for that assessment to be anything but an exaggeration.

What he was, was out of practice. That was why he had to "scratch hard and stay at the crease," which Akram credited him for. In his own words, he had to "find a way," because "I don't think I have ever been the most talented batter."

His way has always involved muscling the ball through the leg side in a laboured fashion and he relied on that as much as ever, even after he crossed the 200 mark. Today. it also involved "keeping your focus," despite an increasingly weary bowlers who seemed to run out of attacking ideas and wearing a blow from Irfan which struck him on the helmet and "gave me a buzzing head for the rest day."

That was the closest he came to being felled. For the rest of his time at the crease, Smith barely took his eyes off the ball and did not offer any genuine chances, not against a fiery Irfan or against the toiling spinners who induced leading edges towards the end of the day. He took no risks.

For that there was AB de Villiers. He survived a chance off the first ball he faced, would have been out lbw for 25 had Pakistan had reviews in hand, was given out on 96 before reviewing himself and benefiting from too much turn from Ajmal and survived a run-out chance, but in-between he was agile and aggressive to complement Smith's heavy-handed style of play.

De Villiers provided the frills - the footwork, the reverse-sweep, the aerial drives and innovative pulls. He also provided the nerves. The cramping up as he reached his century, the singles that someone else would have been happy to turn down and in so doing, he was the mental energy supply Smith needed to keep going.

Physically, Smith did not seem to be under as much strain as de Villiers and admitted he was took quiet schadenfreude in seeing the "young whipper-snapper at the other end cramping," while he was untroubled by dehydration. He was, as is only natural, tired by the end of what he thought was the "hottest day of the tour," but he was hugely satisfied that he had come through without any discomfort.

When he walked off the field, ankle intact despite concerns and the run bank refilled after a lengthy absence from the game, Smith could work tall having ticked off another feat. "Scoring a double-hundred in sub-continent-like conditions was good for me," he said.

Smith already has a list of achievements that include becoming the 12th player to go past 9,000 Test runs, and being behind only Sunil Gavaskar for the most runs as an opener. The number of runs he has scored as a captain - over 90% - has resulted in much comparison with Allan Border. Smith has already captained more times than Border and said if the legacy he leaves "is even a quarter," of what Border's was with Australia, he will be satisfied.

But the record that may be most relevant for him and his team-mates tonight is that Smith's innings has done a huge amount to make match safe. Every time Smith has scored a century, on 26 previous occasions, South Africa have not lost the Test. That's leadership in its most explicit and unique form. As his wife Morgan tweeted: "There's only one Graeme Smith."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Greatest_Game on October 24, 2013, 21:45 GMT

    Again, cricket's most under-rated batsmen shows his grit, character & skill. Made skipper at just 22, he promptly made his mark with fighting double-tons, & retired the English skipper who mocked him. Over 100 tests later, he has again delivered a double-ton captain's knock - a remarkable comeback from injury, surgery & months of rehab.

    What the press mostly ignores, every skipper of the last decade knows: underestimate Smith at your own peril. That's when he is at his strongest, & as history has repeatedly shown, they are at their weakest!

    Smith is nicknamed Biff because his physique, & technique, are like that of a "buff," or Cape Buffalo, one of Africa's most powerful, resilient, & deadly creatures: an impossibly tough hide, thick, bullet proof skull-encompassing horn, & heart muscle so tough that when shot thro it contracts, stops bleeding, & keeps beating. Uniquely, if wounded a buff circles back, & counter-attacks. The hunter suddenly becomes hunted, as Pak discovered today!

  • on October 26, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    Graeme Smith has made the great comeback and this is just his fifth double ton! More double tons are lining up! This guy is immense!

  • timtom on October 25, 2013, 10:02 GMT

    COngrats BIFF. But this does`nt take away the fact that through out his captaincy inspite of having world`s best bowlers and batsmen have`nt won a world cup in any form.. Compare this to Ponting who during the same period with best batman and bowlers had 2 WC or DHONi with one atleast one bowler short has 3 WC`s. Should have done much much better.

  • wrenx on October 25, 2013, 9:06 GMT

    A monster innings from a top player. Why does it feel like Smith hardly plays any cricket any more these days? At leas t when he does, he makes it count.

  • balajik1968 on October 25, 2013, 7:27 GMT

    Smith was given the captaincy at a time when he had yet to establish his place in the team. The responsibility seems to have done wonders for him. Credit to South Africa for backing him considering he was possibly the youngest player when given the captaincy.

  • kh1902 on October 25, 2013, 5:47 GMT

    Certainly has a lot more character than the overrated Kallis who never seems to perform when SA are in trouble. Yet the myth persists that SA can't do without Kallis. SA will surely miss Smith when he retires.

  • Romanticstud on October 25, 2013, 5:45 GMT

    Remember, Graeme Smith based his game on another namesake Graeme Pollock, They are both right handers that adapted to bat left-handed ... Statistically Graeme has the temperament for the long innings ... He once held the South African record at 277 as did Pollock when he had 274 as the bench-mark ... Now that mark has been superseded and stands at 311 ... 85 runs today will take care of that ... 401, the world record is 175 away, If Graeme bats like he did yesterday he should get there by the close ... but then who knows what Graeme wants to do with his bowlers ... Maybe a few overs at the end of another long day and a few wickets by the close ... A few steps closer to an innings victory ...

  • guru29 on October 25, 2013, 4:49 GMT

    Such colossal ining conforms that 5day cricket is the best & true cricket.

  • TATTUs on October 25, 2013, 4:14 GMT

    Greame Smith is pretty much an underrated batsman. Probably because he has not performed well against India [they have got a lot of fans] and probably for some reason [chuckle] SA loves to hate him. But he is one of the best when it comes batting under pressure. He has 4 centuries or so in fourth innings of a test match! He scores at a good pace[ a strike rate of 62 over the career] without the opposition noticing it. A typical grind as it can be said. I have enjoyed his batting from the twin doubles he had against Hussains and Vaughans England. A great player and a great leader.

  • on October 25, 2013, 3:20 GMT

    Smith was always one of my favorite but ever since smith played with broken hand in Melbourne to save a dead rubber, he became my idol. He simply doesn't want to lose.

  • Greatest_Game on October 24, 2013, 21:45 GMT

    Again, cricket's most under-rated batsmen shows his grit, character & skill. Made skipper at just 22, he promptly made his mark with fighting double-tons, & retired the English skipper who mocked him. Over 100 tests later, he has again delivered a double-ton captain's knock - a remarkable comeback from injury, surgery & months of rehab.

    What the press mostly ignores, every skipper of the last decade knows: underestimate Smith at your own peril. That's when he is at his strongest, & as history has repeatedly shown, they are at their weakest!

    Smith is nicknamed Biff because his physique, & technique, are like that of a "buff," or Cape Buffalo, one of Africa's most powerful, resilient, & deadly creatures: an impossibly tough hide, thick, bullet proof skull-encompassing horn, & heart muscle so tough that when shot thro it contracts, stops bleeding, & keeps beating. Uniquely, if wounded a buff circles back, & counter-attacks. The hunter suddenly becomes hunted, as Pak discovered today!

  • on October 26, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    Graeme Smith has made the great comeback and this is just his fifth double ton! More double tons are lining up! This guy is immense!

  • timtom on October 25, 2013, 10:02 GMT

    COngrats BIFF. But this does`nt take away the fact that through out his captaincy inspite of having world`s best bowlers and batsmen have`nt won a world cup in any form.. Compare this to Ponting who during the same period with best batman and bowlers had 2 WC or DHONi with one atleast one bowler short has 3 WC`s. Should have done much much better.

  • wrenx on October 25, 2013, 9:06 GMT

    A monster innings from a top player. Why does it feel like Smith hardly plays any cricket any more these days? At leas t when he does, he makes it count.

  • balajik1968 on October 25, 2013, 7:27 GMT

    Smith was given the captaincy at a time when he had yet to establish his place in the team. The responsibility seems to have done wonders for him. Credit to South Africa for backing him considering he was possibly the youngest player when given the captaincy.

  • kh1902 on October 25, 2013, 5:47 GMT

    Certainly has a lot more character than the overrated Kallis who never seems to perform when SA are in trouble. Yet the myth persists that SA can't do without Kallis. SA will surely miss Smith when he retires.

  • Romanticstud on October 25, 2013, 5:45 GMT

    Remember, Graeme Smith based his game on another namesake Graeme Pollock, They are both right handers that adapted to bat left-handed ... Statistically Graeme has the temperament for the long innings ... He once held the South African record at 277 as did Pollock when he had 274 as the bench-mark ... Now that mark has been superseded and stands at 311 ... 85 runs today will take care of that ... 401, the world record is 175 away, If Graeme bats like he did yesterday he should get there by the close ... but then who knows what Graeme wants to do with his bowlers ... Maybe a few overs at the end of another long day and a few wickets by the close ... A few steps closer to an innings victory ...

  • guru29 on October 25, 2013, 4:49 GMT

    Such colossal ining conforms that 5day cricket is the best & true cricket.

  • TATTUs on October 25, 2013, 4:14 GMT

    Greame Smith is pretty much an underrated batsman. Probably because he has not performed well against India [they have got a lot of fans] and probably for some reason [chuckle] SA loves to hate him. But he is one of the best when it comes batting under pressure. He has 4 centuries or so in fourth innings of a test match! He scores at a good pace[ a strike rate of 62 over the career] without the opposition noticing it. A typical grind as it can be said. I have enjoyed his batting from the twin doubles he had against Hussains and Vaughans England. A great player and a great leader.

  • on October 25, 2013, 3:20 GMT

    Smith was always one of my favorite but ever since smith played with broken hand in Melbourne to save a dead rubber, he became my idol. He simply doesn't want to lose.

  • class9ryan on October 25, 2013, 1:29 GMT

    I always thought Amla is the best player of spin in South Africa. But it might well change with the way AB and Smith batted. When I look at Smith, I remember that incredible test match vs Australia at Sydney and also the Champions Trophy 2009 where he was refused to take a runner. But this man is one of stronger human beings I have seen in Cricket world. No doubts he's " Biff ".

  • immi2711 on October 25, 2013, 0:09 GMT

    Just hear me out, Smith and Ab played great...But you gotta admit, umpring has been bad ...really incompetent umpires. First of all there is no match between Pak and SA... SA is in a different class, professionally and athletically...and if you make mistakes in umpiring you are killing the Pak team. Had umpire not faltered, Ab or Smith would have been gone LBW, not that it would have helped much.

  • on October 24, 2013, 22:27 GMT

    STOP smith's advantage of taking soo many singles in the match (in the direction show in above map where most singles taken) and he maybe be out within no time against the likes of Saeed and irfan but that thought should be coming out from the pakistan dressing board not from a fan of cricket ! pakistan team lacked the brains (planning ) so far if they get that in order they will be sorted immediately insha allah . Pakistan Batsman smacked around the SA bowlers all around the pitch in 1st test can they do it again we should ask this question , do they have the will ? . Maybe lol i should make a good comment how to get all SA players out by looking at their past videos with the likes of ajmal & irfan present is that so hard to do for the pakistan cricket then where exactly do they put their hard efforts on?

  • CherryWood_Champion on October 24, 2013, 22:06 GMT

    Just wondering if Pakistani batsmen cannot score on a flat track batting first, imagine what the score would be on a green top ... 44 all out ... sigh

  • Rabies on October 24, 2013, 21:35 GMT

    What a pity is is to see so many people denigrating Smith because he is not so pleasing to the eye. I for one would rather have someone with his bloody- minded attitude scoring tons than a pretty, dashing, now- and- again player (e.g David Gower) in my side- what a player, what a man, what an inspiration- let us not forget, he has been doing this as captain since the age of 22- seriously- what more does the man have to do to get the accolades and recognition he deserves? In my opinion, one of the all time greats, given the context of what he has produced and when he has produced it.

  • GermanPlayer on October 24, 2013, 21:02 GMT

    @Mazdonal The test against India is not a greater one. We play India at home and Indian fast bowlers aren't really threatening. Then test was here in UAE which Smith passed with flying colors. He doesn't need to prove anything against the indians.

  • on October 24, 2013, 20:36 GMT

    read it and weep England fans. simply the best team in the world flexing their muscles. wow what a team! even without their best player (Amla). just a shame that it's only a two test series as the Proteas are just finding their feet after a 6 month break.

  • GermanPlayer on October 24, 2013, 19:41 GMT

    The probability of this match ending in a draw is really low for a number of reasons. First, the SA bowling attack, unlike Pakistan, has the ability to keep testing the batsmen all day and not let up even for an hour. They have built this quality due to the lack of spinner in their team. They build up pressure by not letting up and at some point the batsman has to give his wicket away. This is where the Pakistani batsmen come in. We all know any Pakistani batsmen on his day is capable of a magical innings. But unfortunately the type of innings required in this game can only be played by Misbah and Younis and just two batsmen is too little when you are looking to bat out more than two days! Unless thay have a hidden Faf in their team!

  • on October 24, 2013, 19:02 GMT

    Having badly lost the first test, and as their on-form batsman Hashim Amla was missing South Africa were in a difficult corner. In such circumstances, its just inevitable that Graeme Smith would score big!. He's that type of player, adversity often brings out the best in him. South Africa's Iron-man captain has to be a legend of the game.

  • Supa_SAFFA on October 24, 2013, 18:47 GMT

    Smith is only 32. If his successful ankle surgery means he is good to go for another five years, then 10,000 runs and a place among the all-time greats seems a mere formality.

  • Mr.PotatoesTomatoes on October 24, 2013, 18:27 GMT

    Graeme Smith has done wonderfully well for himself as a test player and captain of the South African side.I don't think it's true that he isn't given the recognition he deserves.Wherever the Proteas travel to,the opposition is always wary of his hunger for runs,especially if he digs in.Its true that he may not be the most pleasing-on-the-eye batsman to watch,but any team would look past that promptly to have his runs at the end of the day. For me it remains one of the highlights of my cricket viewing life,to watch the gritty and extremely proud South African captain walk out to bat against a charged-up Mitchell Johnson with a fractured hand.Cricket,and sports in general,can be an immense test of character,and Smith has always aced this exam.Many of his critics fail to see that cricket isn't just about delightful strokeplay,it's also about patience,trusting your abilities and strengths and above all standing together with your mates.Graeme Smith ticks a lot of those boxes.

  • THE_MIZ on October 24, 2013, 18:08 GMT

    @mazdonal, I'm gonna have to disagree there mate. I think most people will tell you that out of the sub-continent teams, India would have the weakest bowling attack (albeit strongest batting line-up) whilst Pakistan have the better bowling attack. Add to that it's an away game (on a turning track) and I think this achievement would be regarded as higher than anything he could achieve against India in S.A. The fact that he's only second to the Great Gavaskar in runs as opener, and his performances in 4th innings (especially run chases) should be enough to put him in that All-time Great category already.

  • mazdonal on October 24, 2013, 17:19 GMT

    Smith at his merciless best. One can extenuate by saying that it was only against Pakistan. Cricketers love to pad their resumes by what they can achieve against this hapless country. But a further, sterner test awaits him very soon: against the arrogant and supremely confident Indians.

    If he can perform as well, against them, then he would truly have cause to be called one of the greats

  • on October 24, 2013, 17:15 GMT

    It is strange that Biff always seems to have to prove himself, he is a triumph of substance over style. Well done, again, one of the all time greats of the game.

  • on October 24, 2013, 17:12 GMT

    I hope he gets a triple, he certainly deserves it

  • samincolumbia on October 24, 2013, 17:11 GMT

    What a knock from Biff! And what a sight....empty chairs!

  • Protea1999 on October 24, 2013, 17:00 GMT

    Well written Firdose. I have been a Protea fan since '99 & I have seen a lot of highs & lows since then. But the decision to appoint Smith as captain in '03 has to rank as one the best ever now, no? This guy is an absolute legend already & those who feel he doesn't deserve to be among the greatest cricketers of all time are surely kidding themselves. As a captain he has always led from the front and as a batsman, his immense determination & hard work is a testament to his fine standing in the game. In my honest opinion, he has to be greatest test captain of all time and he has not yet retired! Great going Biff. You are gonna leave one hell of a legacy behind. As his wife said, "There is only Graeme Smith."

  • Maui3 on October 24, 2013, 16:41 GMT

    Smith has played so many innings when he is out of form or his side is behind. If not just for the volume of runs, he should be considered among the best, for performing under serious pressure. Add to that, the captaincy pressure and he certainly belongs among all time great. Unfortunately, the cut-off for all time great is batting average of 50 (although not all palyers with 50+ average are in all-time great club) and he needs to end his career with 50+ average.

  • on October 24, 2013, 16:37 GMT

    What a man! What a cricketer! What a leader! I will admit, when he first took over, I was very sceptical. He seemed very full of himself and over the top confident. But, he has really grown into his leadership role. And he has become a real role model for South Africans to look up to. He exemplifies true South African character - grit, determination and courage. When everyone else struggles, he stands up and shows how it should be done. Most importantly, when he gets in, he very often converts his starts into big match winning hundreds. Incredible stat - whenever he gets a hundred SA do not lose. Good on you Biff! Keep up the awesome work!

  • mredz84 on October 24, 2013, 16:32 GMT

    Graeme Smith has been one of my favorite cricketers to watch. He definitely isn't the prettiest to watch but what he brings in terms of heart and guts is unmatched. Who can forget the consecutive doubles or the match-winning 154* in the 4th innings( with a dodgy elbow) against England. The time when he came out to bat at number 11 with a broken hand to face more chin music from Johnson, that is what legends are made of!!! His record as a leader speaks for itself. Certainly a colossal cricketer and a great ambassador of the game.

  • on October 24, 2013, 16:27 GMT

    why is it not being televised on Sky sports for us in UK?

  • on October 24, 2013, 16:21 GMT

    If he gets to 10000 runs in Test cricket and finishes with a 50-average, then he definitely will be mentioned with the all-time greats.

  • hhillbumper on October 24, 2013, 16:03 GMT

    he is not the prettiest bat in the world but god knoews he is effective.I was looking forward to him at Surrey this summer. To captain your country for that long with the modern pressures is something else.

  • on October 24, 2013, 16:03 GMT

    Yup! there is only one Graeme Smith. The one of the most underrated batsmen. It is particularly so given the limited technique he has managed to score these many runs with. Saddled with captaincy at so early an age with cricketers of Kallis. Pollock, Donald's caliber to be managed. Truly, Smith has been one of those selfless cricketers finding company with Rahul Dravid, Justin Langer, Steve Waugh. Already a legend, lets hail Graeme, the Biff.

  • Lloydster on October 24, 2013, 16:01 GMT

    Good on you Biff... this was long in the waiting. Magnificent knock. Captain Fantastic

  • mahjut on October 24, 2013, 16:00 GMT

    I know there will be many comments refuting your suggestion - firdose - that Smith should be a name thrown in when talking of all time greats but I have been advocating this stance for some years now. Is there a more valuable cricketer out there? Not in my opinion, certainly not since S Waugh...

  • on October 24, 2013, 15:55 GMT

    Indeed, it's about time Biff gets his due. Few understand how it must be to grow up in public eye, not least in a high profile hot-seat as that of a captain. From responding to Hussain's ill-timed "whatshisname" with back to back doubles, sledged by Fleming, and being ridiculed by Ponting as a whiner - Smith has surpassed most modern captaincy records, and ended the career of three fine English captains. And it isn't all longevity (which in itself is a testimony to his sustained excellence). There's skill, and a maturity and understanding of smart captaincy. He is certain to finish as the most accomplished runmaker among openers, and despite obvious gifts of timing or natural talent as a batsman his focus and ability to bear pain means he is right up there as someone who 'leads from front'. Like Kallis, his legacy would burgeon with time, and leave a greater mark for posterity.

  • on October 24, 2013, 15:55 GMT

    Indeed, it's about time Biff gets his due. Few understand how it must be to grow up in public eye, not least in a high profile hot-seat as that of a captain. From responding to Hussain's ill-timed "whatshisname" with back to back doubles, sledged by Fleming, and being ridiculed by Ponting as a whiner - Smith has surpassed most modern captaincy records, and ended the career of three fine English captains. And it isn't all longevity (which in itself is a testimony to his sustained excellence). There's skill, and a maturity and understanding of smart captaincy. He is certain to finish as the most accomplished runmaker among openers, and despite obvious gifts of timing or natural talent as a batsman his focus and ability to bear pain means he is right up there as someone who 'leads from front'. Like Kallis, his legacy would burgeon with time, and leave a greater mark for posterity.

  • mahjut on October 24, 2013, 16:00 GMT

    I know there will be many comments refuting your suggestion - firdose - that Smith should be a name thrown in when talking of all time greats but I have been advocating this stance for some years now. Is there a more valuable cricketer out there? Not in my opinion, certainly not since S Waugh...

  • Lloydster on October 24, 2013, 16:01 GMT

    Good on you Biff... this was long in the waiting. Magnificent knock. Captain Fantastic

  • on October 24, 2013, 16:03 GMT

    Yup! there is only one Graeme Smith. The one of the most underrated batsmen. It is particularly so given the limited technique he has managed to score these many runs with. Saddled with captaincy at so early an age with cricketers of Kallis. Pollock, Donald's caliber to be managed. Truly, Smith has been one of those selfless cricketers finding company with Rahul Dravid, Justin Langer, Steve Waugh. Already a legend, lets hail Graeme, the Biff.

  • hhillbumper on October 24, 2013, 16:03 GMT

    he is not the prettiest bat in the world but god knoews he is effective.I was looking forward to him at Surrey this summer. To captain your country for that long with the modern pressures is something else.

  • on October 24, 2013, 16:21 GMT

    If he gets to 10000 runs in Test cricket and finishes with a 50-average, then he definitely will be mentioned with the all-time greats.

  • on October 24, 2013, 16:27 GMT

    why is it not being televised on Sky sports for us in UK?

  • mredz84 on October 24, 2013, 16:32 GMT

    Graeme Smith has been one of my favorite cricketers to watch. He definitely isn't the prettiest to watch but what he brings in terms of heart and guts is unmatched. Who can forget the consecutive doubles or the match-winning 154* in the 4th innings( with a dodgy elbow) against England. The time when he came out to bat at number 11 with a broken hand to face more chin music from Johnson, that is what legends are made of!!! His record as a leader speaks for itself. Certainly a colossal cricketer and a great ambassador of the game.

  • on October 24, 2013, 16:37 GMT

    What a man! What a cricketer! What a leader! I will admit, when he first took over, I was very sceptical. He seemed very full of himself and over the top confident. But, he has really grown into his leadership role. And he has become a real role model for South Africans to look up to. He exemplifies true South African character - grit, determination and courage. When everyone else struggles, he stands up and shows how it should be done. Most importantly, when he gets in, he very often converts his starts into big match winning hundreds. Incredible stat - whenever he gets a hundred SA do not lose. Good on you Biff! Keep up the awesome work!

  • Maui3 on October 24, 2013, 16:41 GMT

    Smith has played so many innings when he is out of form or his side is behind. If not just for the volume of runs, he should be considered among the best, for performing under serious pressure. Add to that, the captaincy pressure and he certainly belongs among all time great. Unfortunately, the cut-off for all time great is batting average of 50 (although not all palyers with 50+ average are in all-time great club) and he needs to end his career with 50+ average.