Sydney: Steve Smith sidled into Don Bradman territory with his fourth consecutive Test century against India in Sydney on Wednesday.
Smith's batting has grown in stature with the Australian captaincy handed to him after a hamstring injury ruled regular skipper Michael Clarke out of the India series following the first Test in Adelaide.
Smith added his latest knock of 117 on Wednesday's second day of the fourth Test in Sydney to his unbeaten 162 in Adelaide, 133 in Brisbane and 192 in Melbourne in the series.
Steven Smith. Pic/ AFP
In doing so Smith became only the third batsman along with the Bradman and Jacques Kallis to score tons in four consecutive Tests in the same series. Bradman scored his centuries against South Africa at home in 1931-32, while Kallis compiled his hundreds against the West Indies in South Africa in 2003-04.
Smith, 25, who played one-day and Twenty20 internationals before making his Test debut against Pakistan at Lord's in July 2010, has now amassed 698 runs in the series at an average of 139.6. That placed him third behind Bradman (715) and Ricky Ponting (706) for most runs in a series against India.
He still has the possibility of batting again in the second innings in Sydney and eclipsing Bradman's record. Smith was finally out before lunch when he was caught behind off Umesh Yadav ending his 208-ball knock spiced with 15 fours.
He has now scored eight hundreds in 26 Tests and is averaging almost 52. Six of those tons have come in the first innings of his last seven Tests at home. Smith is taking up this year where he left off in 2014 when he finished fifth behind Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara (1493) with 1,146 runs in the calendar year, edging team-mate David Warner by 10 runs.
Smith is a product of the T20 era with a dazzling array of improvised shot-making, much in the mould of dashing Australian opener Warner.