5 Captain's Innings from Graeme Smith
Graeme Smith often cops a lot of flak for various different reasons. Yet, for so long he has been such a mainstay of the South African batting lineup. He has served the side as skipper since being flung into the role as an immature 22-year old.
Since being given the gig, he has gone from strength to strength and has played some crucial innings for his country.
Against Pakistan in the second Test in Dubai Tuesday, he scratched and prodded his way to an unbeaten 67 by the close of play. As with all Smith's knocks, it wasn't pretty, but it was effective and very much needed. Under the circumstances, having not played competitive cricket since May this year and in blistering heat, it was a solid effort.
He has some time to make that score swell on day two, but this post is to pay homage to some of his most memorable knocks. They might not all be his top knocks, just some of the innings which have stood out over the last few years.
Add your favourite Smith knocks in the comments.
Lord's 2003, 259 vs. England
Smith has become known as somewhat of a tormentor of Englishman, especially their captains. They have the tendency to resign with Smith has taken a team to England.
His 259 at Lord's in 2003 was till one of his most memorable efforts of all time. His efforts, along with some fine bowling form the Proteas, would help them eventually beat England by an innings and 92 runs.
Smith was just 22 when he managed a double at Lord's, quite an achievement.
Adelaide 2012, 122 vs. Australia
Whenever South Africa and Australia meet, things get feisty. The Proteas looked like they were on the back foot in Australia last year in tough conditions where their bowlers toiled and their batsmen forgot to bat every once in a while.
Smith notched up 122 against Australia in the second Test of the three-match tour and while his batting partners stuttered, with just one player from number two to four passing 50, Smith scored 122 which, in the end, was quite handy in saving the Test.
Edgbaston 2008, 154* vs. England
Smith really loves scoring big runs against England.
In 2008, his 154 in the second innings helped South Africa clinch a five-wicket win in Birmingham. His fourth innings prowess is quite extraordinary, he averages 54.75 in the 37 innings he's batted in the fourth innings and averages 85.69 in fourth innings where South Africa have won.
His unbeaten effort in the Test in Birmingham was proven of his behemoth presence in fourth innings yet again.
Perth 2008, 108 vs. Australia
Smith produced yet another masterclass in fourth innings batting with his 108 against Australia in 2008.
It was a topsy-turvey Test, which South Africa would eventually win by six wickets. It was a slow and steady knock, which gave South Africa a realistic chance of actually pulling off a win.
Under pressure and under the circumstances, it was certainly one of the most important efforts of Smith's career.
Trinidad 2005, 148 vs. West Indies
Smith doesn't do many things fast.
He's had just seven Test innings with a strike rate of above 100, with two 50's and 100 in that list. But that is exactly what you need from an opener, somebody who will plod along slowly and steadily while things fall apart around him.
He managed a tedious 148 against the Windies in 2005, while his batting partners flopped around him on a pitch where Chris Gayle managed to pick up four wickets. Smiths' knock was enough to take South Africa into the lead in that Test and they eventually won by eight wickets.