There’s one argument in the cricket world that never settles. Who is a better test batsman- Joe Root or Steve Smith? Both the players have dominated the test during different stages in their cricket journey and it’s a strenuous task to decide who holds an edge over the other. Recently, Joe Root resigned from England’s test captaincy after a lot of criticism.
Joe Root’s Test Journey
Joe Root debuted in a test match in 2012 against India when he received his test cap from former England all-rounder Paul Collingwood. Joe Root came to bat at the no.6 position unusual from his opening slot during that time. Joe Root scored 73 & 20 runs in his debut test match which helped England secure their historic test win on Indian soil.
Since then the player’s performance graph has risen sharply to land him England’s test captaincy in 2017. Joe Root became the 6th England player with the highest score to score a century on captaincy debut.
Joe Root’s test figures read as 117 matches with an average close to 50 and 53 half-centuries, 25 centuries, and 5 double centuries. These figures depict the aura and legacy of Joe Root as a test legend.
Steve Smith’s Test Journey
On the other hand, Steve Smith who is known for his high test batting average made his debut in test cricket in 2010 and was primarily selected for his leg-spin bowling which impressed everyone after his performance in T20 World Cup 2010, where he was the joint second-highest wicket-taker in the tournament.
The debut series against Pakistan was the turning point in Smith’s career as he not only took wickets but also assisted Australia to set a competitive total against Pakistan after being bowled out for 88 in the 1st innings. Steve Smith scored 77 runs in that innings. After this, Smith worked passionately on his batting skills to emerge as a world-class batter only to be compared to Australian legend Donald Bradman.
Steve Smith was appointed as Australia’s Test captain after Australia’s defeat in the Ashes in 2015 when Michael Clarke resigned from the role. Steve Smith had great numbers under his cap as he holds a 54% win ratio in the test. However, his stint as test captain and player was cut short following the ball-tampering incident against South Africa in 2017 that eventually led to a ban of 1 year on him as a captain and player from all levels of cricket.
Steve Smith returned to the international team in 2019. The player was named in the Ashes squad and he lived up to the expectations of the selectors as he scored centuries in both the innings against England. He returned to a leadership role on Australia’s side with a vice-captaincy role after Tim Paine resigned following his 2017 incidents. Pat Cummins was promoted as test captain. The luck was in Smith’s favor as he captained Australia in the 2nd test against Pakistan when Pat Cummins was ruled out.
Smith played a knock of 93 runs against Pakistan in the 1st innings of the 2nd test. He has magnificent records as a test batsman in 85 matches with an average of close to 60 and 36 half-centuries, 27 centuries, and 3 double centuries.
Who is a Better Test Batsman?
It’s near impossible to rank one higher than the other in the test. But if we compare both the players according to their stats then definitely Steve Smith holds an edge over Joe Root. However, both of them are struggling for their peak form presently as Joe Root stepped down from England’s test captaincy after their defeat in the Ashes. Moreover, Steve Smith ranks higher than Joe Root in ICC test batsman rankings.
Do let us know if you have a definite answer to the question, “Who is a better test batsman – Joe Root or Steve Smith?”