Virat Kohli vs Steve Smith: A comparison of a lifetime in Test Matches
Virat Kohli is way ahead of Steve Smith in limited-overs cricket, but Virat Kohli vs Steve Smith in Test matches has a slightly twisted result.
It is no doubt that Virat Kohli and Steve Smith are two of the greatest players of this generation, and probably amongst the best as compared to the legends of the game.
In limited-overs cricket, Virat Kohli is way ahead of Steve Smith, but Virat Kohli vs Steve Smith in Tests brings interesting results for us to observe. Hence, let’s look at Virat Kohli vs Steve Smith in Tests, which is the hottest topic in the world of Cricket at the moment.
For me, comparing these two gentlemen would be like doubting their greatness, but since these two are right at the pinnacle of the sport currently, analyzing their performance in different situations would only help us understand how these two have fared from different perspectives.
So, taking nothing away from their greatness, this is just a statistical comparison of Virat Kohli and Steve Smith under different unique situations in Tests.
‘Home Advantage’ is something that tends to bring the best out of a player since a player is familiar with the pitches and the conditions.
At Home, Virat Kohli has done really well scoring 3105 runs from 54 innings at an average of 64.68. He also has his highest score in Tests at home when he hit 243 against Sri Lanka on his home ground, Delhi in 2017. Meanwhile, Virat’s consistency stands at 51.92%, but his low-scores is a slight worry with 42.31%.
Steve Smith, on the other hand, betters Virat Kohli with a stunning average of 77.25 with 3090 runs from 50 innings. He too has his highest score in Tests at home when he hit a match-winning 239 against England in Perth in 2017. Meanwhile, Steve Smith has better consistency at home with 56%, and his low-scores % is just 28%. It just shows, how well he plays at home, and does not throw his wicket away easily.
So, Virat Kohli is exceptional at home, but Steve Smith has edged him with even better performance.
AWAY & NEUTRAL VENUES:
While Virat Kohli is quite exceptional at home, his stats away from home are slightly below par. In 77 innings away from home, Kohli has scored 3508 runs at an average of 46.77 with 14 centuries and 10 half-centuries. His consistency away from home stands at 41.56%, and his low-scores percentage too stands at 41.56%.
Steve Smith too has been slightly below par away from home as compared to his overall performance. In 69 innings away from home, Smith has scored 3395 runs at an average of 53.88 with 12 centuries and 14 half-centuries. His consistency away from home stands at 42.65%, while his low-scores percentage stands at 41.18%.
While both have given slightly below-par performances, Smith’s performance is slightly better than Kohli, however, Kohli has more centuries to his name.
LAST 5 YEARS:
The last 5 years’ performance is one of the most ideal ways of comparing both the individuals as players mature with time, and they enter from being good to being great.
In the last 5 years, Kohli has scored 4784 runs from 82 innings at a superb average of 61.33 with 19 centuries and 11 half-centuries. His consistency in the last 5 years stands at 50.62%, while his low-scores percentage stands at 40.74%. These are superb numbers as compared to his overall career.
Smith, on the other hand, has once again taken his battalion to another level scoring 5124 runs from 81 innings at a stunning average of 74.26 with 21 centuries and 18 half-centuries. His consistency in the last 5 years stands at 53.75%, while his low-scores percentage stands at just 26.25%; quite phenomenal.
Once again, Kohli has exceeded his overall performance, but Smith is one step ahead of him with better average, consistency, and lower low-scores percentage.
IN SENA COUNTRIES:
The real test for batsmen lie in their performance in SENA countries. So, how have Virat Kohli and Steve Smith performed in South Africa, England, New Zealand, and Australia?
Overall in SENA countries, Virat Kohli has scored a total of 2772 runs from 57 innings at an average of 49.52 with 11 centuries and 9 half-centuries. His consistency in SENA countries stands at 45.61%, while his low-scores percentage stands at 36.84%. This is slightly below par as compared to his overall performance.
Breaking it down, Kohli has been superb in SA, NZ, and Aus with an average of above 50 in these countries. However, an average of 36.35 in England from 20 innings is what has been a worrying part for Virat Kohli.
Steve Smith, however, has actually been quite phenomenal in SENA countries scoring 5002 runs from 89 innings at an average of 65.82 with 20 centuries and 18 half-centuries. His consistency in SENA countries stands at 50.56%, while his low-scores percentage stands at 35.96%.
Breaking it down, Smith has been quite phenomenal in England, NZ and Aus with an average of above 50 in these countries. However, his performance in South Africa has been decent with an average of 41.1 from 11 innings.
So, overall, Smith has been a better performer in SENA countries as compared to Kohli. However, Kohli has been better in South Africa, while Smith in the other three countries.
IN SUBCONTINENT AND WEST INDIES:
This is where Virat Kohli edges Smith in terms of performance with a better overall record. In the 74 innings in Sub-continent and West Indies, Kohli has scored 3840 runs at an average of 57.31 with 14 centuries and 11 half-centuries. His consistency in non-SENA countries stands at 45.83%, and his low-scores percentage too stands at 45.83%.
Smith, on the other hand, has scored 1483 runs from 30 innings at an average of 54.92 with 5 centuries and 6 half-centuries. His consistency in non-SENA countries stands at 41.38%, while his low-scores percentage stands at 34.84%.
So, Kohli has had better performance in non-SENA countries as compared to Smith, but Smith has had a better low-scores percentage showing he doesn’t give his wicket easily.
BATTING IN THE FOURTH INNINGS:
This is another area that calls for a pressure performance because either your team would be looking for a win, or for a draw.
In the fourth innings, Virat Kohli has scored 896 runs from 23 innings at an average of 49.77 with 2 centuries and 6 half-centuries; quite stunning. His consistency in the fourth innings stands at an amazing 52.38%, while his low-scores percentage stands at 38.10%; both better than his overall record.
Smith, however, has been quite mediocre in the fourth innings. In the 20 innings he has played, he has scored 560 runs at a poor average of 31.11 with 4 half-centuries. His consistency in the fourth innings stands at just 26.32%, while his low-scores percentage stands at a huge 47.37%; both horrible as compared to his overall record. Surprisingly, Smith hasn’t scored a hundred in the fourth innings as yet. An area of weakness for Steve Smith.
So, under extreme pressure situations, Kohli has performed exceptionally well as compared to Smith.
Another area that differentiates a good player and a great player is when we analyze their performance when the team ends up on the winning side.
In the 37 matches in which India have won, Virat Kohli has scored 3283 runs at an average of 58.62 with 11 centuries and 11 half-centuries. His consistency while winning stands at 47.46%, while his low-scores percentage stands at 42.37%. This is better than his overall performance, but how is it as compared to Smith?
In the 33 matches in which Australia have won, Steve Smith has scored 3908 runs at a mind-blowing average of 84.95 with 17 centuries and 14 half-centuries. His consistency while winning stands at an amazing 64.29%, while his low-scores percentage stands at just 25%.
So, Smith has contributed heavily whenever Australia have ended on the winning side, and this is way better than what Virat Kohli has achieved, which is not bad either.
So, Smith has bettered Kohli on many occasions when it comes to performance in different areas. In fact, Kohli has been better than Smith only in non-SENA countries and batting fourth in the match.
If we look at the overall numbers, Virat Kohli has scored a total of 6613 runs from 131 innings at an average of 53.76 with 25 centuries and 20 half-centuries. His overall consistency stands at 45.74%, while his low-scores % stands at 41.86%.
Steve Smith’s numbers look better with 6485 runs from 119 innings at an average of 62.96 with 25 centuries and 24 half-centuries. His overall consistency stands at 48.31%, while his low-scores % stands at 35.59%.
Clearly, In different unique situations, Steve Smith has bettered Virat Kohli in 6 of the 8 areas.
Taking nothing away from the great, Virat Kohli, Steve Smith has been a slightly better Test Match player.
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Adesh Kothari is the founder of AK4Tsay1 Cricalytics.
Cricket to him is like what ‘Football is to Lionel Messi’, ‘Singing is to Lata Mangeshkar’, ‘Dancing is to Michael Jackson’, and what ‘Acting is to Clint Eastwood’.
Besides his effervescent love for Cricket, Adesh is an MBA by qualification.
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