No scar but need to curb Mitchell Johnson, says Smith

Australian bowler had 12-wicket haul in Test win

South Africa will turn their attention to finding a way to negate the formidable threat posed by fiery Australian Mitchell Johnson, captain Graeme Smith said following his team's comprehensive 281-run defeat in the first Test in Pretoria on Saturday.

“There is no doubt Mitchell Johnson was the difference in this game and we have to find way to curb him and put him under pressure in the next two Tests,” said Smith as South Africa licked their wounds after losing the first of the three-Test series.

Johnson's 12-wicket haul came as a result of some vicious deliveries, one of which cut Ryan McLaren behind the ear and the other hit Hashim Amla full in the face.

Bowled consistently
The left-arm paceman bowled consistently around the 150km mark and scythed through the home team's batting to produce career best figures.

The Proteas had no real answer to the pace and bounce of Johnson, with only AB de Villiers managing to get among the runs for the home side. He scored 91 runs in the first innings and 48 in the second.


“I’m here to be the intimidator which is what I have done here,” said Johnson. “Now we have an extra day to get back up for it.”

South Africa captain Smith said: “I believe the wicket played a big part,” confirming the assertion of the Australian captain Michael Clarke that the surface at SuperSport Park was “nasty”. The wicket for the second Test at Port Elizabeth, which starts on Thursday, is expected to be docile in comparison.

Smith dismissed media assertions his side had been mentally scarred by the aggression of the Australian paceman, whose formidable form continued after being man of the series when they won the Ashes last month after a 5-0 whitewash of England.

Big Test matches
"It's important that we move away from that, there are still two big Test matches left in this series and we need to make sure that we perform really well in the next one, that's our focus.

“I feel that, even though it’s been disappointing, this game will benefit us going into the next game. I think our bowlers have got good time on their legs and hopefully we will have a higher intensity going into the next game.

"From a batting perspective, I think we have some good things to talk about, if we can post some good totals which we have done in the last period of time we will have the ability to put Australia under pressure," Smith added.