‘A good first day is a must’

2011-11-17 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Australia’s vast experience should allow them to get over the calamitous first Test when they were all out for 47 and lost by eight wickets last week, South Africa captain Graeme Smith said yesterday.

The teams will meet in the second and final Test of the series at the Wanderers in Johannesburg today.

Smith said, “Australia have got enough players of experience who would have dealt with what happened in Cape Town before and they’ll know it’s a fresh start tomorrow.

“If we can get them under pressure early, then maybe the memories of that 47 all out will come back.

“But we have to start well and earn the right to put them under pressure, we must have a good first day.

“We’re not taking anything for granted, it’s just our second Test in 10 months. We have a lot of respect for the Australian team and the players they possess, so we won’t be taking our foot off the gas,” Smith added at the Wanderers.

Australia captain Michael Clarke said the Newlands debacle — when they were bowled out for their lowest test total in 109 years — was an experience they have consigned to the past.

Clarke said, “We got rid of the scars once we left Cape Town, we had a good session in the changing room and made a pact that we would leave what happened there and look only to this one. We need to have a red-hot crack at this one.”

Australia are, however, considering more changes than just the inclusion of top-order batsman Usman Khawaja as replacement for Shaun Marsh who has returned home with a back injury.

Wayward left-arm paceman Mitchell Johnson is the most likely bowler to be replaced, although seamer Ryan Harris also picked up various niggles in Cape Town.

Clarke added, “There’s one definite change and the possibility of a couple of others. We have no choice, we have to pick a team to take 20 wickets and also to be positive and confident with the bat as well … we’ve got to take the game forward.

“There are also some guys who have not trained yet this week. Ryan Harris is a bit stiff and sore, so we’re waiting to see how he goes and how he pulls up in the morning.

“But nobody’s got any great concerns and we’ll probably be able to pick our best XI.”

An unchanged lineup is likely to take the field for South Africa, with Smith looking for his team to build on the improvement they showed in the second half of the first Test.

Smith said, “There has been a good focus and intensity in training. We’re really focused on our own things, our improvements.

“In the second innings at Newlands, we saw how much we improved and it’s important for us to build on that.

“I doubt we’d go in with an all-pace attack. With this heat, the conditions are likely to mean there will be a role for a spinner and that’s the way we’ve played our cricket recently — with a spinner.”

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