Ashes Series 2019

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Smith: One to tick off my bucket list

Australia’s Steve Smith says an Ashes triumph in England had been high on his "bucket list" after failing to win the urn on their two previous visits.

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Smith, a member of the Australia sides that lost the Ashes to England in 2013 and 2015, has been the stand-out performer in the current series, amassing 671 runs from just five innings.

The 30-year-old struck 211 and 82 during the 185-run victory at Old Trafford that put the tourists 2-1 up with one Test to play - and views that success as a burning ambition fulfilled

It feels amazing to know the urn's coming home now," said Smith. "I've been here quite a few times now when things haven't gone our way.

 

"We haven't performed to the best of our ability in 2013 and 2015 and to come back and get the urn over here, it was always one I wanted to tick off my bucket list.

       

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"I'm incredibly proud of the way I've been able to perform throughout this series and help the team in what they've achieved - it's very special

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"Obviously there's another game left where we'd love to win it outright, but to know that it's coming home - that's extremely satisfying."

Although Smith was forced to sit out the Headingley Test due to concussion protocols after being struck by a Jofra Archer bouncer in the previous game, he has proved to be England's nemesis throughout the series.

Neither should the home side anticipate any let-up for the fifth and final Test of the series, which gets under way at The Oval on Thursday, live on Sky Sports.

"I've got two hundreds from two games at The Oval, so it's a place I do like batting," Smith added. "When you get in there, it's an incredibly good place to bat.

"The bounce is very true and the square across the ground makes it a vast outfield so you can score very quickly.

"We didn't just come here to retain the Ashes, we came here to win it - so we're going to do our best to go 3-1 up at The Oval.

"I want to be the one out there doing my job for the team. I love batting and I don't really like watching cricket - that's my motivation to stay out in the middle as long as possible!"

Tim Paine, who replaced Smith as Australia's captain last year after the ball-tampering scandal that saw him serve a 12-month ban, praised his team's resilience during the series.

"This team's been through a lot in the last 12 to 18 months, some individuals more than others," said Paine, who becomes the first Australian skipper to win an Ashes series in England since Ricky Ponting in 2001.

 

Posted on September 9, 2019

 

 

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