The last time South Africa and Australia squared off in a Test series, the former won it 2-1 © Getty Images
The last time South Africa and Australia squared off in a Test series, the former won it 2-1 © Getty Images

Australia will take on South Africa in the first Test of a four match series with the same playing XI that lifted the Ashes urn in Sydney, skipper Steven Smith confirmed.

“There’s no doubt it’s a tough tour. Conditions wise it’s as similar as you get back home, but you’re still away from home,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Smith, as saying.

Australia must be going into the series with confidence as they have never lost a series in South Africa and are also on the back of a 4-0 Ashes series win against England.

They lost the three-match Test series 2-1 to the Proteas when latter toured Australia in 2016.

Commenting about the loss, Smith said, “That wasn’t a great time, it was a bit of a low point for Australian cricket, but, I think, since then, we’ve made some really good strides and the cricket we’ve been playing, particularly back home in the Ashes, was magnificent.”

The right-handed batsman added, “Now, it’s about doing all those things we did well, the basic things, but doing them at another level. If we do that then I’m confident we can have a lot of success.”

Steven Smith prepared for some 'verbal challenge' during South Africa-Australia Test series
Steven Smith prepared for some 'verbal challenge' during South Africa-Australia Test series

Australia’s batsmen played a full part in the return of the coveted urn. Mitchell Marsh, his brother Shaun and Usman Khawaja all got three figures in the final Ashes Test.

Smith said, “I think our squad together now is a really good squad. Even the guys that aren’t playing have been training exceptionally well.

Petey [Handscomb] got a hundred before we came away in Shield cricket and averages 47 in Test cricket. So, I think, it is showing us that we’ve got a good side. Having said that, we’re going to have to be up for the challenge here.”

Australia XI: David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith (c), Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood