Watch: Against India at Auckland in 1989/90, Ian Smith slammed a 136-ball 173, still the highest score in Test cricket by a No.9 batter.
New Zealand came into the last Test of the three-match series one-up, but India sniffed a chance at Eden Park after Mohammad Azharuddin opted to bowl, when Kapil Dev (2-85), Manoj Prabhakar (3-123), and Atul Wassan (4-108) reduced New Zealand to 131-7.
At this point Smith walked out to join Richard Hadlee. By tea, he had raced to 29. By stumps, he was on 169 and New Zealand 387-9. His 140 remains the highest score by anyone in the third session of a day’s play in Test cricket.
He was particularly brutal on Wassan, whom he took for 24 in an over (2, 4, 4, 2, 6, 6) – at that point the world record for most runs in an over in the format. Having taken 3-23 in the morning, Wassan conceded 85 in nine overs in the afternoon.
By the time Prabhakar trapped him leg-before next morning, he had made 173 in 136 balls. The last 73 runs had come off just 41, and had included seven fours and three sixes. It remains the world record for the highest score by a No.9.
Smith added 103 with Hadlee (87), but it is his 136-run stand with Martin Snedden (22) that remains the record for the ninth wicket for New Zealand. He added another 21 with Danny Morrison, who did not open his account.
New Zealand eventually made 391. Mohammad Azharuddin led the response with a dazzling 257-ball 192 to take India to 482, even as Morrison claimed 5-145. Andrew Jones (170*) and Martin (113) then batted India out of the Test match and series before John Wright made a token declaration on the final day.
Smith finished with 1,815 Test runs at an average of 25.56 – but an ahead-of-his-time strike rate of 63. In ODIs, his strike rate of 99 was incredible for someone who retired after the 1992 World Cup.
Watch Ian Smith’s 173 here:
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