What do you get the batsman who seemingly has everything?
In Steve Smith’s case, the ideal present would be a Test double-century.
For all of Smith’s achievements over the past two years, scoring 2113 Test runs at 64.03 including nine Test hundreds, passing the 200 mark has eluded him.
On Friday at Jamaica’s Sabina Park, that final barrier looked like it was going to broken.
Smith had already eclipsed his previous best (192 against India in last year’s Boxing Day Test) when, on 199, disaster struck.
Impressive West Indies quick Jerome Taylor’s yorker crashed into Smith’s pads and umpire Ian Gould raised his finger.
Despite a desperate and almost immediate review, the decision was upheld and Smith became the third Australian to fall for 199 in Test cricket.
It was a deflating end to another otherwise exemplary knock by surely the world’s most in-form batsman.
“You get so close you want to get over the line and get 200,” said Smith, who joins Steve Waugh (v West Indies, 1999) and Matthew Elliot (v England, 1997) as Australians dismissed just one short of that milestone.
“I’ve not got that before in a first-class game or a Test match so it would have been nice, but it wasn’t to be today.”
For all the disappointment, the reality is Smith’s average of 55.06 after 28 Tests is world-class and his teammates know just how important he’s become to the team.
“It’s one of those things where you’re disappointed for him but, on the other hand, it’s 199 runs – it’s a pretty amazing achievement,” Nathan Lyon said.
“I’m pretty sure the way Steve’s batting, he’ll get the opportunity to get a lot more runs. I feel for him but also excited for him.”
BATSMEN WHO HAVE BEEN DISMISSED FOR 199 IN TEST CRICKET:
* Steve Smith (Aus) v West Indies, Kingston 2015
* Ian Bell (Eng) v South Africa, Lord’s 2008
* Younis Khan (Pak) v India, Lahore 2006
* Steve Waugh (Aus) v West Indies, Bridgetown 1999
* Sanath Jayasuriya (SL) v India, Colombo 1997
* Matthew Elliott (Aus) v England, Leeds 1997
* Mohammad Azharuddin (Ind) v Sri Lanka, Kanpur 1986
* Mudassar Nazar (Pak) v India, Faisalabad 1984