Australia’s Steve Smith states an Ashes victory in England was high on his”bucket record” after failing to win the urn on their two previous visits.
Smith, a part of the Australia sides that dropped the Ashes from 2013 and 2015, has become the stand-out celebrity at the present series, amassing 671 runs from five innings.
82 and 211 struck during the success at Old Trafford that place the vacationers 2-1 up with one Test to play with – and views which success as a burning dream fulfilled.
“It seems amazing to understand the urn’s coming home now,” said Smith. “I have been here a number of times today when things have not gone our way.
“We have not performed to the best of their ability at 2013 and 2015 and also to return and find the urn above here, it was always one that I wished to tick off my bucket list.
“I am incredibly proud of how I’ve been in a position to perform during this show and help the staff in what they’ve achieved – it is very unique.
“Obviously there is another game left where we’d really like to win it outright, but to know that it’s coming home – that is extremely satisfying.”
Although Smith has been forced to sit out the Headingley Test because of concussion protocols after being struck with a Jofra Archer bouncer in the game, he has proved to be England’s nemesis throughout the collection.
Neither should the home side expect any let-up for its fifth and final Test of the string, which has under way at The Oval on Thursday, live on Sky Sports.
“I have two countless two games at The Oval, therefore it is a place I really do love batting,” Smith added. “When you’re in there, it’s an incredibly good place to bat.
“The rebound is quite true and the square across the ground makes it a vast outfield so you can score very quickly.
“We didn’t only come here in order to keep the Asheswe came here in order to win it – so we’re definitely going to do our very best to go 3-1 up at The Oval.
“I want to be the person out there doing my work to the group. I love batting and that I don’t actually like watching cricket – that is my motivation to stay out in the middle as long as possible!”
Tim Paine, who replaced Smith last year after the ball-tampering scandal which saw him serve an ban, praised the resilience of his team during the set.
“This team’s been through a lot in the previous 12 to 18 months, even a few individuals more than others,” said Paine, that becomes the first Australian skipper to win an Ashes series in England since Ricky Ponting at 2001.