India success would be bigger than Ashes triumph for Australia, says Smith

By Sports Desk February 06, 2023

Steve Smith believes a series triumph in India would represent a bigger achievement for Australia than winning the Ashes.

Australia begin a four-match tour of India in Nagpur on Thursday, as they bid to win three successive men's Test series for the first time since doing so between November 2015 and February 2016.

The tourists are under no illusions as to the size of the task awaiting them in India, with their hosts only losing one of their last 15 Tests on home soil against Australia (W11 D3).

Having helped Australia to a crushing 4-0 series win over old rivals England in the last Ashes series in 2021-22, Smith believes a successful tour of India would beat that achievement.

"I think if we could win in India, that'd be bigger than an Ashes series," Smith told cricket.com.au.

"It's a difficult place to win a Test match, let alone a series, so if we were able to topple that mountain, it would be huge."

Team-mate David Warner echoed Smith's thoughts, saying: "Being a part of that last Ashes was fantastic, but to go to India and beat India is the toughest challenge in Test cricket for us.

"I'm really looking forward to the tour, it's always a hard graft and one thing I'm looking forward to is applying myself against the best spinners in the world."

While India have claimed victory in six of their last eight red-ball series against Australia, the tourists enter Thursday's first contest in excellent form, topping the world Test rankings and boasting a collective batting average of 46 since the start of 2022, the best of any team in that time.

Captain Pat Cummins also believes a series win in India would rank among the team's finest achievements, adding: "Winning a series in India is like an away Ashes series, but even more rare.

"I think that really is a career highlight, an era-defining series, if you can win one over there. So that's our opportunity and we can't wait.

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