As Australia take on South Africa in a 3-Test series at home. It would be test of leadership skills for their captain Steve Smith. South Africa will be riding high on their success after a thumping win in the one day series at home, where they whitewashed Australia 5-0. Before this, Australia had another whitewash in Sri Lanka, where they lost a test series 0-3… totally outplayed by spinners!. Smith is new to leadership and he is their captain in all 3 format!.
At home Australia has an excellent Test record – and this series against South Africa would be an acid test for Smith and his team, because Smith’s team has the best batting indicators Aussies had in 19 years!. With only 14 tests as captain it is too early to compare his leadership with the likes of Steve Waugh, Ponting and Clarke.
However it is their bowling that has not performed to its potential, as the indicators(below table) suggests the eco rate is very high. Therefore the presence of Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle will be key factor for Australians at home.
Below is how Australia performed under Smith’s leadership in test cricket. Inspite poor performance in Sri Lanka their batting indices looks very impressive, with 25 centuries, run-rate of 3.84, boundary rate of 7.66/100 balls all these are the best no Aussie captain had since 1998.
The bowling is different story altogether. When compared to other captains who led Australia, the eco rate of 3.39 is very high – and it is due to less percentile in these indices -viz Maidens, consecutive maidens(CM), and consecutive less 3 runs(C 3) and Less than 3 runs(L 3) are very low. Hence someone like Siddle will be key for their bowling attack. His eco rate across all related indices are very low, and he can bowl long spells.
1- Below table is Australia’s test performance under Steve Smith’s leadership
|22.87||Lesser scoring shots||18.08|
|2.64||% C M||3.55|
|22.67||% C 3||25.30|
|40.52||% L 3||43.59|
|7/1||5 wicket haul/10 wkt||13|
Here is a list of captains that led Australia since Nov, 1998
|Bat||Tests||Won||Centuries||Avg||Balls/wkt||R/O||Scoring rate||Boundary rate|
|Bowl||5wkt||10wkt||Centuries||Avg||Balls/wkt||R/O||Scoring rate||Boundary rate||%mdn|