England won’t come close in Ashes: Smith

Steve Smith has delivered a verbal blow to England’s rediscovered confidence, saying they won’t “come close” to winning The Ashes based on both teams’ current form.

England’s morale is finally on the up after Alistair Cook’s men won the second Test against West Indies last weekend – their first victory away from home since their series-clinching triumph over India in Kolkata in 2012.

Australia haven’t secured an Ashes series in England for 14 years, but Smith predicted his strong side will have no problem overturning that history when they meet again in July and August.

“I can’t wait to get over there and play another Ashes against England in their conditions,” Smith told ESPN’s Cricinfo.

“After beating them so convincingly in Australia it’s going to be nice to go into their backyard.

“If we continue to play the same way we’ve played over the last 12-18 months, I don’t think they’ll come close to us to be honest.”

Smith was a pivotal part of Australia’s 2013-14 Ashes series win, contributing two centuries as the revitalised home side walloped their northern hemisphere counterparts in a whitewash ruled by Mitchell Johnson’s 37 wickets.

The 25-year-old captain-in-waiting was in the same squad that lost 3-0 to England three months earlier.

Shane Watson was too, and the allrounder said he was hungry for a series win in England after also being a part of the losing 2009 campaign.

“We’ve got a very strong squad that is going over to England, we’ve got depth all the way through all aspects of our game,” he said.

“Also the best part is everyone’s in nearly career-best form at the moment, and there’s a huge hunger in the group because we know we haven’t won over in England for the last three series.

“I’ve been involved in two of those, so there’s a big burning desire inside of me to be involved in an Ashes winning campaign over in England as well.”

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