Sydney - Skipper Steve Smith says Australia plan to reopen
old English Ashes scars starting with a morale-shattering blow in the series
opener at the Gabba this month.
Smith has indelible memories of the shattering effect of the
opening Brisbane Test from the last 2013-14 Ashes battle in Australia on the
remainder of that series.
England were battered by the hostility of paceman Mitchell
Johnson, backed up by Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle and the resilience of
Australia's lower batting order.
Smith said he wants those in the England's squad who played
in that series - captain Joe Root, Alastair Cook, Jonny Bairstow, James
Anderson, Stuart Broad and Steven Finn - to relive the nightmare and for it to
permeate through to the rest of the team.
"First Test match is going to be really important, we
need to set the tone again and hopefully get them on a similar path to what we
did in 2013," he told the ESPNcricinfo website Thursday ahead of the first
Test on November 23 in Brisbane.
"A few players were out here for that tour, and
hopefully we can get them thinking the same way, open a few of those scars up
as such, get them thinking 'oh not this again' and that kind of thought
He said he expected England coach Trevor Bayliss to ensure
his team had an attacking frame of mind, and admitted Australia's middle order
needed to be more productive to be successful.
"We've had a lot of collapses in the last couple of
years," he said. "I think in our last 15 games we've had 14 collapses
or something like that.
"We can't afford to do that this summer and (batting
positions) six and seven are a place where we'll need some rebuilding if those
sorts of things happen and it's going to be a valuable spot if guys there are
getting runs for us.
"It'll make a big difference, so let's hope that is the
Smith, who has not scored an international century since his
prolific tour of India in March, said he was refreshed and hopeful of returning
to his best form for the five-Test clash with England.
He is the top-ranked Test batsman ahead of Root and heads
into the Ashes with a batting average of 59.66 from 56 Tests with 20 centuries.