The kind of form Steve Smith is in currently, nothing seems to be impossible. The Aussie batter has racked up 671 runs from just five innings in the ongoing Ashes series. His lowest score in all these innings is a squeamish 82 – he was out trying to hit a six in that innings.
But can Smith achieve the unthinkable in the fifth and final Test of the series at The Oval? Can he break a record held by none other than Sir Don Bradman and which has stood intact since 1930?
The record is that of scoring most runs in a Test series. It was created in an Ashes series of 1930. The great Sir Don scored 974 runs in that 5-match rubber where he played just seven innings. The person at the second position on that list is English great Wally Hammond who plundered 905 runs in the Ashes series of 1928/29. He though, needed 9 innings from 5 Tests.
These are the only instances of a batsman scoring more than 900 runs in a series. Smith needs 229 runs to join this extremely rare list. But if he wants to go the whole hog and get to the top of it, then he will have to score 304 runs in the match and snatch the record from the greatest batsman to have ever played the game.
But that's not the only record that the Aussie batsman is threatening. He needs 159 runs to create the record for most runs in four matches of a series. This one is held by a person of more recent vintage than the Don. It is Sir Vivian Richards.
The West Indies legend is topping that list with 829 runs that he scored in England against the home side in 1976. That was the series famous for England's then captain Tony Grieg's comments about the West Indies side where he said he intends to make the Caribbean team 'grovel.' It was also the series which marked the beginning of West Indies' domination of world cricket which lasted till late 1970s.
The second name on that list is that of an Indian – Sunil Gavaskar with 774 runs. Incredibly, Gavaskar achieved this big feat in his debut Test series in 1970/71 season.
Chances for Smith to succeed in overtaking one of these great players is reasonably high. He hasn't looked like getting out in the three Tests he has played so far. On top of that, he and his team are heading to a ground – The Oval – where he scored his maiden Test ton in 2013 and then returned two years later to score another century.
So, Bradman in heaven and Richards along with Gavaskar on Earth would be keenly watching Smith's performance.