Australia in SA

We carry no baggage: Smith

2014-02-19 21:07
Graeme Smith (Gallo Images)

Port Elizabeth - The Proteas will not carry any baggage with them into the second Test against Australia, captain Graeme Smith said in Port Elizabeth, on Wednesday.

"This week will be about not carrying too much baggage from Centurion," Smith said ahead of Thursday's Test at St George's Park.

"We need to know Centurion is behind us, and this is PE and [work out] how can we win here. That will be the crucial mindset."

Smith's side lost convincingly in the first of a three-Test series, mainly through the outstanding efforts of Australia's Mitchell Johnson.

The fast bowler decimated the South African batting line-up, returning a career-best 12/127.

Smith said it seemed the Proteas made a habit of getting off the mark too slowly.

"It's difficult to say why we've started so slowly in a lot of series," the skipper said.

"Maybe we just don't like to throw the first punch. We need to have the ability to respond, and experience plays a big role there."

Despite the one-sided clash in favour of the visitors in the first Test, Australian captain Michael Clarke said he was weary of a strong response from the South Africans.

"Against such a good team, if you're not concentrating on the job at hand you'll find yourself behind in the game," Clarke said on Wednesday.

"I've been extremely proud of the guys for not being complacent. We showed through the summer we're a very focused team.

"Attitude and hunger would be the key to us having success over a long period of time."

The short gap between the two Tests would be good for his side, coming off a heavy loss, Smith said.

"It's a fairly quick turnaround which I feel is a good thing. We've got straight back into our work," said Smith.

"I'm hoping that first hit-out will help us get back to our best. We've lacked a little bit of competitive cricket coming into this series.

"That was shown in the first Test and we were certainly outplayed."

Clarke said with his side expecting a backlash from the Proteas, it would be crucial for Australia build on the momentum from the first Test.

"When guys get an opportunity to make a big score, and it's the same when guys bowl, we hope they run with that," Clarke said.

"In this game it [momentum] doesn't last forever, you're going to have some tough times."

While the Proteas were widely criticised for their under-par performance in the first Test, Smith highlighted the good results the team had achieved over the last 18 months.

"One dismissal doesn't make you lose credibility," said Smith.

"I've made a career out of looking ugly. If I can keep doing that I'll be happy."

Putting on partnerships at the top of the order would be crucial in alleviating pressure, Smith said.

"When you're behind the game, the other team is going to have a lot more attacking fielders than you are.

"If we can get ourselves ahead of the game that will all change."

While there was considerable grass cover on the pitch less than 24 hours before the first ball, Smith said it was a regular Port Elizabeth wicket.

South Africa lost the first Test against Pakistan in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in October, and came back to level the series 1-1 in the second and final Test.

Smith said the side would draw on that experience as they attempted a comeback against the Aussies.

"We need to be able to play the type of cricket that is needed to be successful in Port Elizabeth."

Clarke would not be drawn on whether Australia were on the rise, and South Africa in a decline.

"I don't think one loss should indicate a generation's change," he said.

"They're a very good team led by a very good captain.

"Our batters did a good job playing against an amazing bowling attack."

Read more on:    proteas  |  ozinsa  |  graeme smith  |  cricket

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