Bygones - Steve Smith’s double Ashes hundred elevates him to exalted company alongside Yorkshire’s ‘debonair right-hander’ Herbert Sutcliffe

Australia's Steve Smith leaves the field after being dimissed during day four of the Ashes Test match at Edgbaston, Birmingham. (Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire)
Australia's Steve Smith leaves the field after being dimissed during day four of the Ashes Test match at Edgbaston, Birmingham. (Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire)
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STEVE SMITH wrote his name into the record books earlier this month when he became only the eighth man to score two hundreds in an Ashes Test.

The Australia batsman hit 144 and 142 in the first Test at Edgbaston to help his side to victory by 251 runs.

Herbert Sutcliffe, striding out to bat at Scarborough in 1938, is one of eight batsmen to score twin centuries in an Ashes test.

Herbert Sutcliffe, striding out to bat at Scarborough in 1938, is one of eight batsmen to score twin centuries in an Ashes test.

Smith joined a list which includes one former Yorkshire player in the shape of the legendary opening batsman Herbert Sutcliffe, who scored 176 and 127 in the Melbourne Test of January 1925.

The other players to have scored twin centuries in an Ashes Test are: Warren Bardsley (Aus) 136 and 130 at the Oval in 1909; Wally Hammond (Eng) 119* and 177 at Adelaide in 1929; Denis Compton (Eng) 147 and 103* at Adelaide in 1947; Arthur Morris (Aus) 122 and 124* at Adelaide in 1947; Steve Waugh (Aus) 108 and 116 at Old Trafford in 1997; and Matthew Hayden (Aus) 197 and 103 at Brisbane in 2002.

Even Don Bradman did not achieve this rarest of feats – then again, ‘The Don’ usually only had to bat once, such were his colossal first-innings figures.

Sutcliffe, born in Summerbridge, near Harrogate, was, as many readers will know, one of the greatest players of the inter-war period.

To put that into perspective, only two men with more than 50 Test caps have averaged more than Sutcliffe – Messrs Bradman and Smith.

Chris Waters

In 54 Tests – usually in the company of his great opening partner, Jack Hobbs – he scored 4,555 runs at an average of 60.73.

To put that into perspective, only two men with more than 50 Test caps have averaged more than Sutcliffe – Messrs Bradman and Smith.

The 1924-25 Ashes tour, when Sutcliffe doubled up in Melbourne, was the statistical highlight of the Yorkshireman’s Test career.

Although Australia won the series 4-1, Sutcliffe was superb, scoring 734 runs in the five Tests – then the most by a player in a single series.

The debonair right-hander, whom the cricket writer R.C. Robertson-Glasgow famously said “would rather miss a train than run for it, and so be seen in disorder and heard breathing heavily”, hit four hundreds and two fifties in nine Test innings on tour.

His twin centuries in the second Test in Melbourne were preceded by 115 in the second innings of the first Test in Sydney, which made him the first player to score three hundreds in successive Test innings.

His fourth century arrived in the fourth Test, also at Melbourne, when he struck 143.

Hobbs also had an excellent series, scoring 573 runs at 63.67 and sharing with Sutcliffe four century stands, with a highest of 283.

Sutcliffe on one other occasion scored two hundreds in a Test, striking 104 and 109 not out against South Africa at the Oval in 1929.