The Boxing Day Test between Australia and Pakistan has been marred by rain and is likely to end in a draw, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been any extraordinary feats achieved during the summer’s showpiece clash.
Australian captain Steve Smith achieved perhaps the most significant milestone during his team’s most disappointing moment – as rain forced an end to the fourth day’s play and washed away any real chance of a result.
Following Smith in the list of remarkable achievements this unremarkable Test were those by Pakistani opener Azhar Ali, closely followed by Australian opener David Warner and young teammate Nic Maddinson.
Play was abandoned due to rain shortly before tea on day four with Australia 6-465, in reply to Pakistan’s 9-433 declared, a 22-run first-innings lead.
With rain disrupting every day of the Test so far, it will be extremely difficult for either side to force a result in the three sessions remaining.
Smith, who was stranded on 100 not out when play was stopped, has now completed an impressive hat-trick of prolific years.
He is only the second Australian in Test history to score over 1000 runs in a year for three years in a row (2014-2016). Matthew Hayden is the only other, but his streak lasted five years (2001-2005).
Only Michael Clarke (4), Ricky Ponting (5) and Hayden (5) have scored 1000 runs in a year on more occasions than Smith.
Smith also has the second-best ever Test batting record at the MCG, only bettered by Sir Donald Bradman.
In eight MCG Test innings, Smith has scored 573 runs at an average of 114.60 (at the end of play on day four).
Bradman scored 1671 runs in 17 Test innings at the MCG at an average of 128.53.
But that’s not where Smith’s impressive record ends. The skipper reached 4604 Test career runs (as of Thursday) in only his 49th Test.
Only three players have ever scored more runs in their first 49 Tests – England’s Sir Leonard Hutton (4654 at 59.67), India’s Sunil Gavaskar (4713 at 56.11) and Bradman (6753 at 100.79).
Smith has scored 17 Test centuries in 49 matches, the equal-third most of all time.
He is only bettered by Bradman (28 centuries), Gavaskar (18) and equal with Hayden (17).
Azhar Ali’s unbeaten 205 on day three broke several records and narrowly missed others.
He is the first ever Pakistani to score a double century in Australia and the first player since Ricky Ponting to score 200 at the MCG since 2003.
His 205 was just three runs short of the most runs scored by a visiting player in an MCG Test match.
West Indian legend Viv Richards has the highest score of 208 made in 1984.
Azhar’s innings was the fifth-highest score ever by a Pakistani against Australia.
Warner and Maddinson
Warner finally broke his MCG Test century hoodoo on day three by smashing a blistering 144.
Warner had previously managed a top score of just 62 (against Sri Lanka in 2012) in 10 Test innings at the MCG, but his lean run in Melbourne ended on Wednesday – albeit thanks to a little luck.
He was bowled on 81 off a no ball, almost played onto his stumps on 99 and survived a bizarre DRS appeal when Pakistan chose to challenge even though his bat missed the ball by several inches.
Meanwhile, Maddinson has continued to struggle in the infancy of his Test career – his 22 was his top score for Australia in a Test match.
In his previous three innings he made 0, 1 and 4. His innings on Thursday also saw him hit his first Test boundary. Despite that milestone, of sorts, Maddinson faces a battle to keep his spot in the Australian side for the Sydney Test in early January.