Stat that adds insult to Smith’s infamy
STEVE Smith has finished his career-worst Test series, averaging 23.66 with the bat against South Africa.
Smith will miss the fourth Test against the Proteas, having been banned from the series finale by the International Cricket Council.
More punishments are expected to follow from Cricket Australia, whose investigation team will soon start probing the ball-tampering plan that Smith rubber stamped during the third Test.
Smith is distraught with his conduct but will also be desperately unhappy with his form in Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town as he takes great pride in leading from the front with the bat
Smith has never averaged less in any Test series, even dating back to 2010 when he debuted as a leg-spinning all-rounder.
The right-hander scored 100 runs at 25 during his debut two-Test series against Pakistan in England.
"He's a very good batsman and somehow we've managed to keep him quiet," South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis said.
"That is very comforting (that Smith isn't playing in Johannesburg). "It's almost like losing two players.
"He's such a strong batter and I do believe his leadership is also good for the team. He'll be a big loss for them."
The world's top-ranked batsman logged scores of 56, 38, 25, 11, five and seven against the Proteas, compiling a total of 142 runs.
To put those numbers in perspective, Smith finished 141 not out in the first Test against England at the Gabba last November.
Smith earned man-of-the-match series and fresh Don Bradman comparisons during the Ashes, scoring three centuries and averaging 137.4.
The 28-year-old was booed to and from the crease at Newlands on Sunday, when the current cheating furore would have been on his mind.
He steered a short ball from Morne Morkel to Dean Elgar at gully, falling in near-identical fashion to his dismissal on day two of the contest in Cape Town.
Smith extended his poor streak against left-arm spin in the series, falling once to part-timer Elgar and twice to frontline tweaker Keshav Maharaj.
Du Plessis, speaking prior to the third Test, suggested finding a way to starve Smith of runs was the key to keeping him quiet.
"In the previous game he was one off 15 balls or something like that," du Plessis said.
"With all good players you want to make sure that you make it as tough as possible for them, especially that first hour or first 15-20 balls. "They are just a little bit better than normal players. If you get them going quickly they kickstart their innings very quickly."
SMITH'S LOWEST TEST SERIES AVERAGES
*23.66 v South Africa 2018 (142 runs, 6 inns)
*25 v Pakistan 2010 (100 runs, 4 inns)
*29.75 v Bangladesh 2017 (119 runs, 4 inns)