For a player who has T20 and one-day international World Cup medals, thousands of international runs and series victories over both India and England in Australia, he is part of an entire generation of Aussies who have never outright won the urn away from home.
Australia’s last Ashes victory in England was in 2001, and while they retained the urn in 2019 (the series was drawn 2-2, meaning Australia kept it as holders), they have not claimed an outright victory.
“Every game you play for your country is important certainly the Ashes series here, it’s one that’s eluded us,” Smith said. “We got close last time but couldn’t quite get over the line.
“It’s something that I’d certainly like to tick off my bucket list winning an Ashes series here. The World Cup is the biggest tournament in white-ball format but it’s a little while away, so we’ll focus on that later but it’s certainly one that we want to win as well.”
England’s own Ashes preparations were dealt a cruel blow on Sunday when Jack Leach became the latest bowling casualty, and the specialist spinner was ruled out of the whole series with a back stress fracture.
There is no reserve spinner in the squad and it remains to be seen who will be called up to replace the left-armer, and Smith expressed his sympathies for Leach.
“Obviously the news of Leachy broke yesterday, I think it’s a real shame, he’s done really well for England in the last 12, 18 months in particular and I think it’s going to be some big shoes for them to fill,” Smith said.
“I don’t know what way they’ll go, big shoes to fill. Obviously, I feel for him, you always want to be involved in the big Ashes series so hopefully he recovers well.”
Australia’s journey to the ground was delayed slightly due to a Just Stop Oil protest which held up traffic around Vauxhall, after England were also held up by five minutes during their journey to the ground on 1 June.
Smith admitted he had no idea if the protests would affect the upcoming World Test Championship, with Saudi Arabia oil company Aramco one of the main sponsors.
“Honestly I have no idea. We’ll wait and see but play it by ear,” the Australia batter said.