Steve Smith, David Warner yes. But Adam Voges? New Zealand knew the threat posed by Austalia's cricket captain and hard-charging opener ahead of their return tour. Instead, when they plan for batsmen ahead of the start of tomorrow's second test, Voges will figure highly.

Yes, his 239 received a massive slice of luck when Doug Bracewell's delivery, which bowled him on seven at the Basin Reserve, was wrongly punished by a no ball call from umpire Richard Illingworth.

But remember, New Zealand were then unable to dismiss him with their next 343 deliveries.

That score enhanced a remarkable record which now has the 36-year-old West Australian sitting behind only Don Bradman in test averages of those with 20 or more test innings.


That's the standard benchmark in rating batting performance. In fact, Voges first innings at Hagley Oval will be his 20th. His average sits at 97; only Bradman, with 99.94, is higher.

Talk about a late bloomer. He made his test debut last year at 35 and is the oldest player to mark his first appearance with a century, against the West Indies in Dominica.

Watching Voges bat in England last year, you sensed, with a bat coming down from second slip attacking an outswinging delivery, he would battle in conditions supporting swing bowling.

Voges plundered the West Indies earlier this summer and while you might not rate him among the game's top 10 batsmen - Smith, Kane Williamson, AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Virat Kohli etc - that assessment, purely on numbers, might need reassessing if he carries on much longer in similar vein.

Voges appeals as a drummer in the band as distinct from a leading, personality in the Australian group. His reaction to the Bradmanesque numbers gave a clue to the man.

"I'm probably happy that I'm out now and it's gone back under [Bradman]," Voges said. "I can just get on with playing cricket, I guess.

"The boys had a bit of fun taking the mickey out of me in the change rooms but it's all good. It [the average] was never going to stay there, it won't stay there, I know that. So it was always going to happen at some stage."

Consider this: from the moment Voges was caught off Trent Boult in the Adelaide day-night test, until Mark Craig finally had him caught and bowled at the Basin, Voges scored 763 runs in first-class cricket from 1422 balls before being dismissed by a bowler. He was run out for 149 in the Sheffield Shield game against New South Wales at Lincoln before the first test.

This is pinch me stuff. Smith yes, Warner maybe, Voges?

There's also a realisation from Voges that he would not have been capable of producing his stunning run earlier in his career.

"No doubt it comes with time. It comes with a lot of hard work as well. And understanding your game. It comes with confidence as well, being able to trust your ability, trust your defence, then being able to attack when the opportunity presents."

It could be a mantra for the game's best, most resilient batsmen.

West Australian batsman, 36, behind only Bradman in test averages

Adam Voges
Age: 36
Tests: 14
Runs: 1267
Average: 97.46
Centuries: 5
Half centuries: 3
Since Brisbane test v New Zealand last November: 83 not out, 1 not out, 41, 119, 13, 28, 269 not out, 106 not out, 239.

Test averages
Test cricket's highest averages (qualification: 20 innings)
99.94: Don Bradman (Australia)
60.97: Graeme Pollock (South Africa)
60.83: George Headley (West Indies)
60.73: Herbert Sutcliffe (England)
59.23: Eddie Paynter (England)