Smith: Huge motivation for Test series in SA

Australia captain Steve Smith says his team have a “huge motivation” to do well in the Test series in South Africa that gets underway at the start of next month.

The Aussies will play four Tests against the Proteas with the first match scheduled for Kingsmead in Durban on 1 March.

Australia have never lost a series in the longest format in South Africa since the Proteas returned to international cricket in 1992 with Smith playing a big part in the last victory in 2014.

ALSO READ: Sayers replaces Bird in Australia Test squad

Smith told Cricket Australia’s website: “There’s huge motivation to do well in Africa. I think back to when we went over there (in 2014)and won that series, off the back of what was an impressive Ashes campaign as well.

“There’s no reason why we can’t replicate that. I think the guys have made some really good strides.

“We’re playing good cricket, it’s about just continuing to improve and hopefully win some games away from home.”

One player the Australia skipper has high hopes for ahead of the tour is fast bowler Pat Cummins.

Cummins made his international debut as an 18-year-old in South Africa in 2011, taking a six wickets in the second innings, but injuries have ravaged his career until recently.

The right-arm paceman was a key man, with ball and bat, for the Aussies in their four-nil Ashes victory over England with Smith saying the quick will only get better as he adds to his 10 Test caps.

ALSO READ: Marsh in good bowling form ahead of SA Tests

Writing a column for Fox Sports, the Australia skipper said of Cummins: “Six-and-a-half years ago Pat made his Test debut in South Africa, and made an immediate impact on Test cricket because he’s an exceptional talent.

“He’s had a tough time with injuries since then but, after a pretty intense summer of cricket, is in a really good place both mentally and with his body.

“He’s really excited to have been able to get through the whole summer, having never gone through a full season before – so to get through five (Tests) and play the way he did was pretty special.

“As we saw in the Ashes, Pat is able to switch it on in key moments. His batting has been incredibly valuable – particularly in the first two Test matches where the 40s he got were so crucial to the end result.

“He’s a great talent and he’s just going to better and better the more he plays – and we all can’t wait to see how he goes in this series.”

Following the Test in Durban, the Proteas will play the Aussies in Port Elizabeth , Newlands and Johannesburg.