Steve Smith continued his rise up the run-scoring chart as he entered the top 10 of the Test batsmen among Australians on the opening day of the second Test against New Zealand in Melbourne on Thursday.

After overhauling Sir Don Bradman’s tally in the second Test against Pakistan earlier in the summer, this time Smith overtook Greg Chappell and the latter feels there is much more to come from the unorthodox right-hander.

“I would think he’ll be in his peak for another three of four years,” the former captain told “He’s the outstanding player of his era, he’s playing exceedingly well and he’s built up a record which is comparable with the very best.

“The indications are he’s going to finish his career in the very top bracket of batsmen through the history of the game.”

Smith’s unique technique and stubbornness at the crease have stood out as he has taken his game to another level in 2019 and Chappell believes it comes down to the mental strength.

“His mind sets him apart,” Chappell says. “His ability to focus. His ability to work out bowlers and make runs in any conditions against any attack.

“He picks up the cues and clues better than anyone else. He’s a better decision-maker than most, he’s got a hunger that comes from somewhere and has always been there, and he’s developed his game through his Test career according to his experiences.”

Australia's leading run-scorers in Tests

Player Mat Runs HS Ave 100
Ricky Ponting 168 13378 257 51.85 41
Allan Border 156 11174 205 50.56 27
Steve Waugh 168 10927 200 51.06 32
Michael Clarke 115 8643 329* 49.10 28
Matthew Hayden 103 8625 380 50.73 30
Mark Waugh 128 8029 153* 41.81 20
Justin Langer 105 7696 250 45.27 23
Mark Taylor 104 7525 334* 43.49 19
David Boon 107 7422 200 43.65 21
Steve Smith 72 7149 239 63.83 26
Greg Chappell 87 7110 247* 53.86 24
David Warner 83 7050 335* 48.28 23

In the Black Caps’ first Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground since 1987, skipper Kane Williamson won the toss and opted to bowl, and it looked to be a good decision with Joe Burns out first ball and David Warner just before lunch.

But first Marnus Labuschagne, the world’s leading run-scorer for 2019, and then Smith smacked half centuries to seize back control and leave them on 257/4, frustrating the disciplined New Zealand bowlers.

Along with the fidgety Smith, Travis Head was not out 25, desperate for runs after a lean spell. Labuschagne made 63 with Colin de Grandhomme taking 2-48.