Smith looking ahead to India series

Australia's captain Steven Smith, left, instructs his bowler Josh Hazlewood during their cricket test match against Pakistan in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

SYDNEY (AP) Just moments after Australia completed its first test series win in nearly a year by clean sweeping Pakistan on Saturday, captain Steve Smith shifted his focus to the tour of top-ranked India starting late next month.

Australia had not enjoyed a series victory since beating New Zealand 2-0 away last February, which was followed by a heavy 3-0 defeat in Sri Lanka and humiliating back-to-back defeats at home to South Africa which triggered an overhaul of the Australia XI.

Its next challenge is arguably the toughest in cricket – a four-test tour of India, which recently thrashed England 4-0 to cement itself as the top ranked test team.

”It’s going to be a very difficult series going over there,” said Smith, who scored 441 runs in the 3-0 series sweep of Pakistan at 110.25. ”We’re under no illusions it’s going to be tough.”

”We’re going to have to play some very good cricket if we want to compete over there. It’s going to be a great challenge and learning curve for this group.”

Australia has not won a test in India since 2004-05, a span of 11 matches, and the skipper is expecting further additions to bolster the squad’s more experienced players.

”The core of this group will take part in India,” the skipper said. ”A few of us have been there before and we know it’s difficult to play in their own backyard.”