Home > News >

Australia in South Africa 2014: Graeme Smith downplays hype surrounding Mitchell Johnson

Graeme Smith said South Africa have prepared well for the second Test match © Getty Images
Graeme Smith said South Africa have prepared well for the second Test match © Getty Images

Port Elizabeth: Feb 19, 2014

South African captain Graeme Smith on Wednesday played down the “hype” around Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson ahead of the second Test which starts at St George’s Park on Thursday.

Johnson destroyed the South African batting in the first Test at Centurion with match figures of 12 for 127, spearheading Australia to a 281-run win.

“It’s important not to get caught up in the hype,” said Smith. “Obviously Mitchell bowled extremely well and bowled aggressively.

“We all know that creates headlines, stories and fanfare. There’s huge respect in our team for someone who is performing well but it’s important for us to focus on getting our skills right.”

Smith said there had been no special attention paid to Johnson either by the team or himself personally. Smith faced four balls from Johnson in the first Test and was dismissed twice.

“I’ve faced Mitchell a lot of times – times where he’s had the better of me and times where I have had the better of him. The wicket at Centurion with the new ball and the cracks played a really important role.

“We’ve had a general group discussion on areas that we want to improve. We haven’t watched any more video or anything different than we did before the first Test.

“I can watch videotapes of me scoring hundreds against Mitchell Johnson. Every player here has had success against this attack, not so long ago.”

The South African captain said his team had prepared well as they set out to reverse a crushing defeat in the first Test.

“I believe our mindsets and our game plans are good. Ultimately it’s about walking the walk now and going out over the next five days and being able to produce the performances to show that,” he said.

Smith said South Africa would put their experiences in the first Test to good use.

“It’s a fairly quick turnaround which I believe is a good thing. We’ve got straight back into our work and had some good discussions,” he said.

“I think we lacked a bit of real competitive cricket coming into this series and we were outplayed. We’ve now got to get ourselves back into the series over the next five days and I’m hoping we’ll be better for it.”

Speculation that South Africa would opt for a seventh specialist batsman to replace injured all-rounder Ryan McLaren was fuelled when Dean Elgar had a lengthy net during the team’s final practice.

But Smith said the make-up of the team would only be discussed when selection convener Andrew Hudson arrived in Port Elizabeth later on Wednesday.

But Smith had a swipe at his country’s administrators, who announced on Tuesday that Elgar and fellow Test squad member Thami Tsolekile had not had their central contracts renewed.

“It’s obviously tough,” he said. “My role is to hopefully keep them focused on what’s important and that’s tomorrow. If they get an opportunity to play hopefully that’s an opportunity for them to put it right.

“It’s another curve ball that’s tough to deal with but we’ve got to find a way.”

The South African captain said he expected a “normal” Port Elizabeth pitch. “We don’t come here that often in the longer form of the game. Obviously we’ll be happy with a result wicket but we’ll be happy with a good Test wicket.”

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 31, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare

India tour of England 2014

Sep 2, 2014 (15:00 IST)   at Birmingham

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Sep 2, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Sep 4, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare

India tour of England 2014

Sep 5, 2014 (15:00 IST)   at Leeds

More

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 30, 2014  at Dambulla

SL won by 7 wkts (D/L method)

India tour of England 2014

Aug 30, 2014  at Nottingham

India won by 6 wkts

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 29, 2014  at Harare

South Africa won by 61 runs

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 27, 2014  at Harare

South Africa won by 7 wkts

Bangladesh Tour of West Indies, 2014

Aug 27, 2014  at Basseterre, St Kitts

No result

Photos

Aaron Finch's record 156 vs England in T20I

Videos

Alastair Cook looks ahead to 3rd ODI at Nottingham

Zimbabwe vs Australia Live Cricket Score, Zimbabwe Tri Series 2014 Match 4 at Harare: Aaron Finch bowled by John Nyumbu

India tour of England 2014: Team India remains unbeaten under Ravi Shastri

Ambati Rayudu has to make every opportunity count if he is to play in ICC World Cup 2015

Sri Lanka vs Pakistan 2014 3rd ODI at Dambulla: Highlights

MS Dhoni records most stumpings in international cricket during India-England 3rd ODI at Trent Bridge

Australia Australia and South Africa in Zimbabwe 2014 England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Pakistan South Africa Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs Pakistan 2014 Zimbabwe Zimbabwe Triangular Series 2014

Michael Clarke: ICC World Cup 2015 winner will be world’s best side

Stuart Broad expects to be fully fit in time for ICC World Cup 2015

India vs England 3rd ODI: Alastair Cook defends England’s approach

Alastair Cook blames England batsmen for defeat in 3rd ODI against India

Live Cricket Score Zimbabwe vs Australia 4th ODI at Harare: Zimbabwe Tri Series 2014

Zimbabwe Triangular Series 2014: Australia vs Zimbabwe 4th ODI key battles

Clive Lloyd: 22 less-recounted facts about the West Indian legend

India tour of England 2014: Team India remains unbeaten under Ravi Shastri

Statistical review of batsmen with two or more consecutive ducks from ODI debut

Ambati Rayudu has to make every opportunity count if he is to play in ICC World Cup 2015

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

667 Posts | 6 Fans

10 Most Unbeatable Records in Cricket

Worried about ill health when you grow old? Try volunteering: Study

NGOs pursue education for all

Stuart Broad expects to be fully fit in time for ICC World Cup 2015

Got a cavity? Is your dental clinic HIV and Hepatitis proof?

Xolo Play 8X-1100 with octa-core processor, 13-megapixel camera launched in India priced at Rs 14,999

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Tripura officer Ambalika Datta suspended for ordering schools to buy Manik Sarkar’s book

Ganesh Visarjan 2014: Shilpa Shetty Kundra says goodbye to Ganpati in a spirited avatar- view pics!

Michael Clarke: ICC World Cup 2015 winner will be world’s best side

Harsh Vardhan to health officials — launch ‘anaemia awareness campaign’

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here