Qantas Tour of South Africa

Smith urges Aussies to back up Ashes glory

Skipper proud of Test team's efforts against England, but challenges Australia to continue their good form in South Africa


13 February 2018, 05:05 PM AEST

Sayers in for injured Bird, confirms Smith

Australia skipper Steve Smith drew a line under his side's Magellan Ashes series win and urged his teammates to take their game to a new level in the coming four-Test series in South Africa.

While proud of the 4-0 series win against England, Smith has challenged his side to back it up away from home soil.

"We know that one good summer doesn't make a good cricket side, we have to keep backing it up, it's going to be a good challenge for the group," Smith said.

"It was a terrific Test summer, the way the guys stood up in pressure moments was probably the difference in the end.

"We're going to be faced with some high-pressure moments in South Africa and it's about winning those moments."

My mind has gone to another level: Smith

Smith spoke to reporters in Melbourne on Tuesday fresh from a fortnight off and claiming his second Allan Border Medal.

The skipper confirmed that Jackson Bird (hamstring) would be replaced in the touring party by Chadd Sayers.

However, the South Australian seamer's chances of a Test debut likely rest on injury or management of one of Australia's three front-line quicks in Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood.

Smith backed that trio and form spinner Nathan Lyon to adapt quickly to South African conditions.

"We saw over the summer the three quicks and Nathan do a tremendous job, all of them contributing and taking (over) 20 wickets each in the Ashes series," he said.

"It's going to be important for us to keep them going and keep working well as a unit.

"I think they've got a terrific bowling attack as well, so it's going to be nice to see both of them go head-to-head."

The Australian squad departs for South Africa on Thursday and will play a three-day tour match before the first Test in Durban starts on March 1.

Qantas tour of South Africa

Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Chadd Sayers, Mitchell Starc.

Warm-up match v SA Invitational XI, Sahara Park, Benoni, Feb 22-24

First Test Kingsmead, Durban, March 1-5

Second Test St George's Park, Port Elizabeth, March 9-13

Third Test Newlands, Cape Town, March 22-26

Fourth Test Wanderers, Johannesburg, March 30-April 3