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Smith joins Bradman in rare 60-50 club

AAP logoAAP 5/01/2017 Darren Walton and Robert Forsaith

Australian captain Steve Smith has taken a giant step towards Test cricket immortality after joining Don Bradman as one of four players to average more than 60 through 50 Tests.

On a record-breaking fourth day in the third Test against Pakistan, Smith whipped his way to another polished half-century to put Australian on the cusp of a series whitewash in Sydney.

He was eventually brought undone by Yasir Shah after a 43-ball 59 that included eight boundaries and a six, finishing the series with 441 runs.

But more significantly, his average remained above the 60-run mark at 60.15, to join a rare club including Bradman and England duo Herbert Sutcliffe and Jack Hobbs after 50 Tests.

Smith's rapid-fire knock - in his 50th Test milestone - on Friday means he also holds the highest mark of any batsman in Test history through a minimum 92 innings.

"He was at the top of a pretty decent list. Just some of the names on that list were pretty special players," teammate Josh Hazlewood said after play.

"For him to be at the top of that at the moment is unbelievable really. He gets runs pretty much every time he bats and you feel pretty confident as a bowler when he's out there scoring runs and batting time. It's an unbelievable achievement at the moment."

Just five players hold a higher overall average than the 27-year-old - including Bradman's famous 99.94 and Adam Voges' 61.87 - but none have played as many innings.

Bradman amassed 6996 runs from 80 innings, while Voges has played just 31.

The accomplishments mark another remarkable chapter in the 27-year-old's already great career that began when he debuted as a leg-spinning allrounder batting at No.8.

Now with 4752 runs from 92 innings, he is on track to become the third Australian behind Bradman and Matthew Hayden to register 5000 Test runs in less than 100 innings.

His deeds are more incredible given he didn't reach three figures until his 12th Test.

But with centuries against every Test nation he's played against - 17 in all - and an average of 76.03 since assuming the captaincy, Smith is carving out of the all-time great Test careers.

Smith hits rarified air in the same match Warner became only the fifth player in history to rack up a century before lunch on the opening day, and smacked the second fastest half-century.

HIGHEST BATTING AVERAGE (minimum 90 Test innings)

Steve Smith - 60.15

Ken Barrington - 58.67

Wally Hammond - 58.45

Garry Sobers - 57.78

Kumar Sangakkara - 57.40

Jack Hobbs - 56.94

Len Hutton - 56.67

Jacques Kallis - 55.37

Greg Chappell - 53.86

Sachin Tendulkar - 53.78

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