Smith urges Aussies to back up Ashes glory

Australia skipper Steve Smith drew a line under his side's Ashes win and urged his teammates to take their game to a new level in the coming four-Test series in South Africa.

Australia captain Steve Smith won the Allan Border Medal for the second time in four years.

Australia captain Steve Smith won the Allan Border Medal for the second time in four years.

While proud of the 4-0 series win against England, Smith has challenged his side to back it up away from home soil.

"We know that one good summer doesn't make a good cricket side, we have to keep backing it up, it's going to be a good challenge for the group," Smith said.

"It was a terrific Test summer, the way the guys stood up in pressure moments was probably the difference in the end.

"We're going to be faced with some high pressure moments in South Africa and it's about winning those moments."

Smith spoke to reporters in Melbourne on Tuesday fresh from a fortnight off and claiming his second Allan Border Medal.

The skipper confirmed that Jackson Bird (hamstring) would be replaced in the touring party by Chadd Sayers.

However, the South Australian seamer's chances of a Test debut likely rest on injury or management of one of Australia's three front-line quicks in Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood.

Smith backed that trio and form spinner Nathan Lyon to adapt quickly to South African conditions.

"We saw over the summer the three quicks and Nathan do a tremendous job, all of them contributing and taking (over) 20 wickets each in the Ashes series," he said.

"It's going to be important for us to keep them going and keep working well as a unit.

"I think they've got a terrific bowling attack as well, so it's going to be nice to see both of them go head-to-head."

The Australian squad departs for South Africa on Thursday and will play a three-day tour match before the first Test in Durban starts on March 1.

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