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Smith: "I've let Sri Lanka tour go"


Australia have drawn a line under their shambolic 3-0 Test series loss to Sri Lanka, with Steve Smith saying the tour is no form guide for their upcoming three-Test series against South Africa.

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Smith and his colleagues will start day-night Sheffield Shield games around the country today, their only chance for a first-class hit or bowl before the first Test starts next Thursday in Perth.

Queensland host a star-studded NSW outfit captained by Smith, while Peter Siddle and Jackson Bird will aim to boost their case for a Test recall when Victoria meet Tasmania at the MCG.

The other fixture pits Western Australia against South Australia at the WACA, where allrounder Mitch Marsh will be desperate to regain some form ahead of his home Test.

The first few days of the three games will be the last chance for hopefuls to convince selectors they warrant a call-up.

The squad will be announced on Friday but questions remain over the XI that will face the Proteas, most notably who will be the third seamer and who will partner David Warner at the top of the batting order.

No matter which 11 players take the field next week, Smith expects Australia will look and play like a different team to the one thumped on the subcontinent two months ago.

“I’ve let that go. It wasn’t a great tour and I’ve thought quite a lot about it since coming back home, ways we can improve in those conditions,” Smith said.

“Results haven’t gone our way in the last couple of months but that’s the game of cricket sometimes. You have to move on and try and improve.

“I was disappointed with the way we played in Sri Lanka, we probably let a few opportunities slip (but) I’m comfortable with where we’re at back in Australia.

“Conditions are going to be entirely different to what they were in Sri Lanka … traditionally Australia has done very well in their own backyard.

“We’ve played good cricket here in the past and hopefully we can continue to do that.”

Smith also dismissed the notion put forward by South Africa counterpart Faf du Plessis that Australia’s recent 5-0 ODI series loss against the Proteas would leave a mental scar.

“It’s a completely different format of the game. We’ve got our two big guns back with (Mitchell) Starc and (Josh) Hazlewood,” he said.

“The batters were a little bit disappointing … but I’ve moved on from that now and it’s about focusing on this summer and Test cricket.”


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