File picture. England's Kevin Pietersen kisses a replica of the Ashes urn after winning the series 3-1 against Australia on January 7, 2011. South African captain Graeme Smith has tipped England to win the 2013 Ashes, saying home advantage will make the difference.
©AFP/File - Tom Shaw
PERTH, Australia (AFP) - South African captain Graeme Smith has tipped England to win the 2013 Ashes Test series against Australia, saying home advantage will make the difference.
Smith is in a good position to judge the merits of the two sides, with the Proteas having wrapped up their second successive series win in Australia on Monday, the first visiting team to do so since the West Indies in 1992-93.
In August, the South Africans completed the same feat in England, winning their second successive series there.
Speaking after his side beat Australia by 309 runs to win the third and final Test in Perth, retaining the number one Test ranking, Smith said he had been impressed by the Australians under the leadership of Michael Clarke.
But he expects England to retain the Ashes, having won them in Australia in 2010-11.
"The challenge for Australia is going to be winning in England," he said of the five Tests they are scheduled to play in July and August.
"They do play well in their own conditions and they know how to win there. Being able to adapt and play well in England is going to be Australia's challenge.
"They certainly have the players but from a mindset point of view that is going to be the challenge. Being a home series for England, they will be favourites."
England are currently ranked second in Test cricket and Australia third.