Australia’s Steve Smith says an Ashes triumph in England was high on his”bucket list” after failing to acquire the urn in both prior visits.
Smith, a member of the Australia sides that dropped the Ashes from 2015 and 2013, has been the stand-out performer at the show, amassing runs from only five innings.
82 and 211 struck at during the victory at Old Trafford that put the vacationers 2-1 up to play – and views which success as a burning ambition fulfilled.
“It seems amazing to be aware of the urn’s coming home now,” said Smith. “I have been here many times now when things have not gone our way.
“We have not performed to the best of our ability in 2013 and 2015 and also to come back and find the urn over here, it was consistently one that I wished to tick off my bucket listing.
“I am incredibly pleased with the way I’ve been in a position to perform during this collection and assist the team in what they have achieved – it is very special.
“Obviously there is another game left where we would really like to win it , but to know that it’s coming home – that’s extremely gratifying.”
Though Smith has been made to sit out the Headingley Test due to concussion protocols after being struck by a Jofra Archer bouncer in the match, he’s been shown to be the nemesis throughout the set of England.
Neither should any let-up be anticipated by the house side for the Test of the string, which gets under way in The Oval on Thursday, live on Sky Sports.
“I’ve got two countless two games at The Oval, therefore it is a place I really do like batting,” Smith added. “When you’re in there, it’s an incredibly great location to bat.
“The rebound is quite accurate and the square across the ground makes it a huge outfield so you can score very quickly.
“We did not just come here to keep the Asheswe came here to win it – so we’re going to do our best to go 3-1 up in The Oval.
“I need to be the person out there doing my job for the group. I really like batting and that I don’t really like watching cricket – that is my motivation to stay out in the middle as long as you can!”
Tim Paine, who replaced Smith as the captain of Australia last year after the ball-tampering scandal that saw a 12-month prohibit is served by him, praised his team’s resilience .
“This team’s been through a great deal in the past 12 to 18 months, even a few people more than others,” said Paine, that becomes the first Australian skipper to win the Ashes series in England since Ricky Ponting at 2001.