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Smith looks to India challenge after demolition of Pakistan

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Australia skipper Steve Smith (centre with trophy) hailed the spirit within the Australia side following their 3-0 series defeat of Pakistan. Reuters/David Gray

Moments after completing a 3-0 series whitewash over Pakistan, the Australia cricket captain Steve Smith said that he was turning his attention to February’s four Test tour of India. Smith was in sparkling form with the bat as well as tactically as Australia won the third Test in Sydney on Saturday  by 220 runs.

 


It was Australia’s 12th straight Test defeat over Pakistan in Australia – a series of wins dating back to 1995.

The victory offered further proof of Australia’s progression under 27-year-old Smith. Australia have claimed four Test matches and a three-game one-day series win over New Zealand since the low of a home series defeat against South Africa in Hobart in November.

The arrival of batsmen Matthew Renshaw, 20, and Peter Handscomb, 25, has reinvigorated the side. However that vibrancy faces a stern examination during a six week tour of a country where Australia have not won a Test match since 2004 and have lost the last seven.

The task will be tougher as India are the world’s leading Test outfit.

"It helps in a way having the new guys but they also haven't experienced the conditions as well,” Smith said after the Sydney triumph. "It's a completely different place to play, playing on those wickets is nothing like playing here in Australia. Guys will have to adapt quickly and find a way to be successful in those conditions."

There are also personal ghosts to exorcise. Smith was a member of the Australia team that lost 4-0 in India in 2013. "It's going to be a very difficult series going over there," he said. "We're under no illusions that it's going to be tough. We're going to have to play some very good cricket if we want to compete over there. It's going to be a great challenge and learning curve for this group."

He added: “A few of us have been there before and we know it's difficult to play in their own backyard. They're a very good team."