For quite some time now, Australia skipper Steve Smith has been doing wonders with the willow in Test cricket, but during the last Ashes series Down Under he took his batting feats to a different level altogether. The 28-year-old had amassed 687 runs in 7 innings at an incredible average of 137.40, including three centuries and two fifties in Ashes 2017-18 as Australia registered an emphatic 4-0 victory.
Smith, who has scored 1754 runs at an average of 67.46 across all international formats in last one year, was also named ICC Test Cricketer of the Year in January 2018 besides being bestowed with this year’s Allan Border Medal. He is all set for another testing series as Australia are scheduled to take on the Proteas in four Tests, starting on Thursday (March 1) at Kingsmead, Durban.
Addressing the media on the eve of the first Test, Smith recalled his magnificent century in 2014 Centurion Test that changed the fortune for him as a Test batsman. It was after the Centurion ton Smith started his journey as a top-order batsman
"The hundred I scored at Centurion gave me a lot of belief. They were a very good attack at that time as they are now and knowing that you could get a hundred against a good attack gave me a lot of belief that I could do it against anyone," Smith told reporters.
The Australia captain also made it clear that they would emulate what worked for them against England just a few months ago.
"[Should have] a reasonably similar approach. Obviously, the summer back home in Test cricket was magnificent. We played some really good cricket, we fought hard, were behind in a lot of the games but got ourselves back in front and didn't let England get back. If we can do the same here, we could hopefully have some success on this tour," Smith asserted.
"Big series for us. We've head some great contests over the years. Obviously, South Africa got the better of us at home and we'd love to get them back for that one. Australia have a proud history here in South Africa. I don't think we've been beaten here in quite some time so a good opportunity for the guys.
“In terms of overseas conditions, this is as similar as you get to back home in Australia. We can take a lot of confidence out of that and out of how we played throughout the summer. We're going to have to start well and win this first Test match in Durban," he elaborated.
When asked why South Africa boasts a fantastic record in Australia and vice-versa, the Aussie skipper stressed on similar conditions of both the countries.
"I just think it is because of how similar the conditions are. Both sides are comfortable in those conditions. Obviously, the crowds are the only thing that's against you, but apart from that I won't be able to put a finger on why South Africa have been quite good in Australia and why we've been good here," Smith opined.
"I have a goal as a captain and the boys have a goal to play well away from home and start winning away," he concluded.
Steven Smith(c), David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Jon Holland, Jhye Richardson, Chadd Sayers
South Africa Squad (first two Tests):
Faf du Plessis(c), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Theunis de Bruyn, AB de Villiers, Dean Elgar, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morne Morkel, Willem Mulder, Lungisani Ngidi, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada