Cast of thousands: how Smith racked up milestones in style
STEVE Smith is by most people's reckoning the best batsman in the world - and on Saturday he has laid down another marker of greatness by becoming the quickest player in the game to 7000 Test runs.
The first 23 runs of his first-innings knock at Adelaide Oval took him there inside 126 innings, 10 quicker than Sachin Tendulkar, eight fewer than Virender Sewag and knocking five off the previous record of 131 held by England's Wally Hammond the best part of a century ago.
Here we remember how he went past his previous 1000 run milestones. Smashing centuries against England and India for the most part.
Career innings 32; career average 37.4
115 v England, SCG, Jan 2014. Australia won by 281 runs
It is a little known and barely repeated fact that Steven Peter Devereux Smith started his Test career as a leggie. Tell your friends. But a breakthrough year in 2013 had cemented his place in the batting order, albeit a place lower than today.
His second century of the successful series came in the first innings. Coming in at 3-78 with David Warner, Michael Clarke and Chris Rogers in the sheds, Smith was last man out having contributed 115 of Australia's 326, most alongside Brad Haddin, Australia's reliable insurance policy in the series.
Smith showed what Justin Langer now regularly calls his "problem solving ability", digging in to help the team get off the back foot.
Smith unfurled a series of controlled cover drives and successfully went after England's debutant leg spinner Scott Borthwick in his innings of 17 fours and one six.
It was Smith's third century in the back-to-back Ashes series. A contest he was only just getting started in.
Career innings 47; career average 51.3
192 v India, MCG, Dec 2014. Match drawn
Now having taken over as captain from Michael Clarke, Smith was in imperious form when India visited Australia in 2014-15.
So much so that at the close of play on day one, when he passed the 2000 milestone, the still unbeaten Smith's average for the series stood at 223.5, a series he completed having piled on 769 runs across four matches, his highest to that point.
Once more, Smith was Australia's rock around which much of their work was built, in Melbourne dealing with the vagaries of an inconsistent drop-in pitch, some fine Indian bowling and the pressure of leading his side in front of a full house.
His 305-ball, first-innings knock fell agonisingly short of a double ton but was still a work of perseverance and concentration.
Career innings 63; career average 56.3
143 v England, The Oval, Aug 2015. Australia won by an innings and 46 runs
The 2015 Ashes were a feast or famine series for Smith, who struggled with the moving ball at times - and hammered out big centuries in the two London Tests.
Outside of his glorious 215 at Lord's, Smith's seven other innings had returned just 150 runs in total - putting a serious dent in his reputation.
And so by the time the series came to the Oval, the Ashes were already lost for Australia and all that could be salvaged was pride.
Smith went about doing just that.
When Smith departed, bowled by Steve Finn as the eighth wicket to fall while attempting to lift the run rate late in the day, Australia already had 467 on the board.
His imperious 143 proved the backbone of Australia's commanding total of 481 - and set up an innings-and-46-run victory
Career innings 80; career average 59.3
116 v Sri Lanka, Colombo, Aug 2016 . Sri Lanka won by 163 runs
On an otherwise disastrous tour of Sri Lanka in which Australia were whitewashed, Smith's 15th Test century in 44 matches was a rare reason for celebration.
Combining for a first innings stand of 246 for the second wicket with Shaun Marsh - a record for Australia against the Sri Lankans - Smith advanced down the ground and took on the spinners to good effect.
Though Rangana Herath was, ultimately, to have the last word, removing Smith as one of his six wickets for 81 runs as Australia's last nine wickets fell for 112. The collapse around him only underlining Smith and Marsh's quality against the slow ball before then in spinner friendly conditions.
Career innings 97; career average 61.5
178* v India, Ranchi, Mar 2017. Match drawn
When Smith finally ran out of partners at the end of Australia's first innings of the third Test in Ranchi, he left the field unbeaten, having struck the third-highest score by an Australian in India and propelled his team to a first-innings score of 451.
It was his second century in the series, when to that point all other batsmen combined had managed one.
The draw it contributed to left the series at 1-1 with two to play.
But more than the numbers, Smith's knock was something glorious to behold, a study in the mastering of an art form. Patience, concentration, belligerence, flawless shot selection were all on show. Even foreign greats can wilt in the Indian heat. But Smith stood tall, not for the first or last time in an epic series.
Career innings 111; career average 63.6
83 v England, SCG, Jan 2018. Australia won by an innings and 123 runs
For some, an 83 in a home Ashes Test victory would be something close to a career highlight.
For Smith it was a crushing anti-climax to a series he had bossed both as Australia's captain and leading run scorer - 687 at an outrageous average of 137.4 - by the end of the series the hosts won 4-0.
On the third day at the SCG Smith got within 17 runs of equalling Don Bradman's record of four tons in a single Ashes series, uncharacteristically presenting England spinner Moeen Ali with a dolly of a caught and bowled.
Smith was filthy with himself. A mark of the standards he had set through the series, his last before his world was up-ended by events in Cape Town soon after.
With Smith having won matches for Australia in Brisbane and Perth, and saved one in Melbourne, his Sydney "failure" was instantly forgivable.
Career innings 126*; career average 64.22 (as he passed 7000)
Pakistan, Adelaide Oval, Nov 2019
When Smith pulled through backward point off the bowling of Pakistan debutant Muhammad Musa for a single, it was an understated shot to reach an incredible milestone.
Reunited at the crease in Test cricket with David Warner for the first time on home since the ball tampering scandal, at the time of writing the pair are guiding Australia towards a monster of a first-innings score and an almost certain victory to complete a series whitewash.
After a rare failure and single figure score in Brisbane, Smith and double century-maker Warner are turning the screws tighter at Adelaide Oval.