Steven Smith started his Test career as a legspinner who batted at No.8; by the time he was named Australia’s captain five years later, he was the No.1 Test batsman in the world and no more than an occasional bowler.
Smith’s talent was apparent early, but as a young batsman he had more moving parts than an orchestra, only they didn’t always work in harmony. He went away and worked on his game and returned to the Test side two years later with a much tighter technique.
He still fidgeted between balls but could play every shot in the book, and a few more that defied words besides. Smith is quick-footed and adept at facing spin, but is equally comfortable driving and pulling the fast bowlers.
His first Test century came at The Oval in the 2013 Ashes and his composure was apparent in the way he brought up the milestone with a six safely lofted down the ground. Over the next year he continued to improve and 2014-15 became the Summer of Steve, as he scored centuries in all four first innings of the home Tests against India.