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Smith eyes ultimate Ashes prize in milestone 100th Test

Steve Smith celebrates a century in his 99th test match. Picture: Kirsty Wigglesworth.

Steve Smith can tick off one of his last remaining bucket-list items during a milestone 100th Test but promises a maiden Ashes series win in England will not prompt retirement thoughts.

When he steps out at Headingley on Thursday, Smith will become the 14th Australian to play 100 Test matches, with the exclusivity of the club not lost on the proud batsman.

But the 34-year-old has more on his mind than personal milestones.

While a draw in any of the next three Tests will retain the Ashes, Australia are hell-bent on securing the win that would wrap up their first series victory in England since 2001.

"That's the goal," Smith said. 

"I have said it for a long time, it is something that has been on my bucket list to win an Ashes series in England."

"What a way to top it off, if I could do it in my 100th game. It would be special for sure."

Smith has recently been coy over his future plans, having admitted last summer he could walk away at any point.

Australia have a run of retirements looming, with David Warner already announcing plans to pack away his bat in January.

A win in England would leave most senior Australian players with little more to achieve in the near future, given they lifted the World Test Championship trophy last month.

A Border-Gavaskar series win in India is one of the few items not ticked off by this generation but Australia will not have another shot at that until 2027.

Smith insisted he remains as in love with cricket as ever and has no plans to walk away in the near future.

"While I am enjoying myself and feel like I can improve and contribute to the team, and feel good about helping the team, then I will keep playing," Smith said.

"(What's left to achieve) is not really part of my thinking. I am feeling good at the moment, so no dramas here."

One of the finest batsmen of the modern era, Smith will become the first player to reach 100 Tests with 9000 runs already to their name.

The vice-captain lists longevity as what he is most proud of, with an average constantly hovering around 60 and a century coming once in every 2.75 Tests since his maiden ton in 2013.

But Smith revealed he didn't truly believe in himself until a century against a South African attack featuring Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel at Centurion in 2014.

"I probably didn't feel like I could make it until my fourth hundred," Smith said. 

"They were tremendous bowlers. They had great careers. And to be able to score a hundred against them gave me a lot of confidence to know I belonged at this level. 

"That was probably the first time I felt it. From there I was pretty confident in my ability. 

"I knew what I wanted to do and how I wanted to play."


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