South Africa skipper Smith backs England to win Ashes

PERTH Mon Dec 3, 2012 1:28pm GMT

South Africa's captain Graeme Smith (C) celebrates the wicket of Australia's Matthew Wade with team mates at the WACA during the fourth day's play of the third test cricket match in Perth December 3, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer

South Africa's captain Graeme Smith (C) celebrates the wicket of Australia's Matthew Wade with team mates at the WACA during the fourth day's play of the third test cricket match in Perth December 3, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

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PERTH (Reuters) - South Africa captain Graeme Smith thinks home advantage will give England the edge in the first of two Ashes series against Australia next year.

Uniquely qualified to comment having just led his team to a series win in England followed by Monday's triumph in Australia, Smith said he was choosing his words carefully given his location.

"I think the challenge for Australia is going to be winning in England," he told reporters after South Africa's 309-run win over Australia in Perth secured them the three-match series 1-0.

"I think (England) do play well in their own conditions. They know how to win there and to be able to adapt and play well there is going to be the challenge for Australia.

"They certainly have the players but from a mindset point of view, I think being a home series for England, I guess they'd have to be favourites."

England, who have won the last two Ashes series, will host Australia in the northern hemisphere summer before immediately heading down under for the return series beginning at the end of year.

The change in scheduling is to prevent the Ashes from immediately preceding the 50 overs World Cup every four years.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by John Mehaffey)

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