South Africa v Australia, 1st Test, Centurion, 4th day

We deserve everything we get - Smith

Firdose Moonda at Centurion Park

February 15, 2014

Comments: 63 | Text size: A | A

South Africa have never wanted to get out of Centurion faster. The venue that remains their most successful - this is the only the second Test they have lost on the ground, and there first in an authentic contest - is now the scene of one of their biggest humiliations. They are bracing themselves for a backlash as fierce as the Port Elizabeth wind, even as they make their way to the place nicknamed the "Friendly city."

"There's going to be a lot of criticism and fan emotion. We didn't live up to expectations," a despondent Graeme Smith said. "And we deserve every bit that comes out way."

On their knees: Morne Morkel was run out as Australia wrapped up victory, South Africa v Australia, 1st Test, Centurion, 4th day, February 15, 2014
South Africa have rarely been dominated at home like there in the first Test © AFP
A week ago, South Africa promised the country they would play in a manner that proved they were the No.1 ranked side in the world. They did not do that. The margin of defeat would suggest they played many notches below that but perhaps not much worse than when they lost the first Test to Pakistan in Abu Dhabi five months ago. Then too, they were bowled out cheaply, conceded heavily and looked off colour but they were able to come back and that is what Smith is going to tell his team to focus on.

"It's about not getting caught up in the emotions. It's important for us to be smart. We need to train well in the next few days and we also need to make smart decisions," Smith said.

It was too early in the aftermath for Smith to confirm whether those decisions would include changes in selection. "I don't know how to answer that question," he said. Instead the choices may revolve around things like the toss, which Smith admitted he should have handled differently. "I was very undecided on day one. In hindsight I would definitely have made a different decision."

Smith put Australia in because of the tinge of green on the surface, but it turned out the pitch was better for batting on the first day and became riddled with variable bounce later on. Despite that, Smith insisted there was more the defeat than one decision.

"We just didn't hit our straps in any department throughout the four days," he said. "We had little mishaps through illness, injury, niggles and we allowed Australia to play on the front foot. We know when they do that, they are a very dominant team. At 100 for 4 we had a real opportunity and we weren't able to take that. From there we under pressure."

Australia exerted pressure most effectively through Mitchell Johnson and he will be South Africa's biggest concern. "There's no doubt he was the difference. He is in form and he is hot at the moment We need to find a way to curb that and put him under pressure," Smith said. "He was able to extract every bit of life and uncertainty out of this wicket."

Despite that, Smith brushed off suggestion Johnson had planted a seed of doubt in the South Africans minds. "I doubt there is much mental scarring. We've lost a game of cricket and we've been beaten comprehensively. It's important that we move away now."

He said they would remind themselves of the times they have been able to bounce back from heavy defeats and continue climbing. "This side has a lot of confidence. Again, we've started a series very slowly but I think this game will benefit us going into the next game. Hopefully we will be at higher intensity."

Perhaps it will help that the Port Elizabeth pitch will not have as much in it for the quicks - although even that notion shows the impact of this first Test - and the vibe at the coast will be less frenetic than it is up country. It will mean South Africa can relax ahead of a game they must win if they want to have a chance to become the first team since readmission to beat Australia at home.

"It's very disappointing at this stage but good reflection is always important," Smith said. "We are moving to a different part of the country with different conditions."

Sorry Centurion, the fortress has been breached.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by razorack on (February 19, 2014, 20:58 GMT)

dont write sa off. We are on a roll no doubt but things can change quickly, in fact i predict that aust bats firsts, and we get a taste of the aggression that the sa quicks clearly possess. our openers get out quickly and the young doolan and marsh this time dont fire. clarke might make a few runs but runs out of partners once haddin fails again......about 250 for the first innings. Then sa gain confidence from our mediocre batting, score about 450, due to the blunting of MJ following a wicketless first 10 overs there again i could be wrong

Posted by kcr_ on (February 17, 2014, 5:08 GMT)

What kind of "reporter" makes errors as basic as : .. and THERE first in an authentic contest..!? Not good enough..

Posted by Blindasabat on (February 17, 2014, 3:15 GMT)

Mr Smith looked like he had a plan A but not a plan B or C. In cricketing terms that relates to not having a decent spinner when your fast bowlers can't do the job on the day.

I'm sure that there was also a lot of research, thought and execution that went into those catches by Doolan. That fielding position was masterful. SA might want to stop thinking that they are simply the best, and just start thinking.

Posted by Fan1969 on (February 16, 2014, 17:32 GMT)

I think SA easily get mentally scarred against Australia, esp at home. The track record in past 20 years since SA rejoined cricket suggests this.

This SA team is one of the world's best but gave up too soon. When I said that SA will lose to Aus badly at home, before India toured SA, all SA fans were very upset. India ran SA close but without the x-factor in bowling could not win at Jo'burg.

Steyn and co are losing the edge. If Kohli had not got that rough decision on 1st ball of Day 5, maybe the Indian series would have been drawn (caught behind of the shoulder) 0-0.

Aus will beat SA 2-0 and SA will lose any chance of being an all time great team. I liken SA playing Aus at home, similar to the choking in WC ODIs. What is wrong with SA mental make-up?

Posted by android_user on (February 16, 2014, 15:53 GMT)

my concern, sa go in with an almost unchanged team, thinking the guys just had a bad match, when actually rob p , alviro, jp all had. their standard game, with our big guns having a rough one. bringing Elgar and parnel in will not make a difference. vern with some work could take on an all rounder role, bat him at 7? De lock and hendricks / abbot and perhaps harmer at 8...

Posted by siddhartha87 on (February 16, 2014, 12:50 GMT)

you can never write South Africa. There must me some reason that they are dominating ICC test rankings.Last year Pakistan beat them in the first test but they came back hard i the 2nd test.Aussie s should expect something similar

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (February 16, 2014, 12:17 GMT)

One word: MOMENTUM. Both teams have skilled players in both batting and bowling, and world beaters in Johnson, Steyn, Clarke and ABDV. Every team sport in the world relies in some degree on momentum. The Aussies have it, can the Saffa's wrestle it back in time? My prediction, a high scoring draw in PE, Clarke and Smith to score centuries, Harris and Lyon best bowlers for Aussies. Steyn for SA. Thoughts?

Posted by StaalBurgher on (February 16, 2014, 12:05 GMT)


None of this means we are suddenly a bad team but does goes to show how SA always tries to play political games when the going is good. Same thing happens in our rugby. Nothing wrong with our bowling. Steyn, Philander are 1 & 2 for a reason. If you drop Peterson for a proper bowler we might be getting somewhere. The other option is that they should've begun to rely on Duminy as our primary spinner years ago because our specialist spinners are not much better than him and it is the only way they can justify keeping his brown face in the team.

People have been saying this but then of course it was all "we are winning why are you picking on the non-white okes".

Then of course, no matter what, eventually all teams lose a game. That is just sport.

Posted by StaalBurgher on (February 16, 2014, 12:04 GMT)

No there are no surprises. SA batting has been carrying Alviro and Duminy for years. Smith averages 50 over that same time period that they average <35. So stfu about Smith. For once the 4 main batsmen didn't score runs so now the passengers are in the spotlight. Also don't know why everyone is surprised by Robbie Peterson. He is not great, never was. Got lucky against India with those gift wickets. To be honest though there is not many options.

Our selectors should've brought in more batsmen a year ago but sat Elgar on the bench not allowing him to play 4-days so that Alviro and Duminy can continue being mediocre. So for the first time in a long time we had to face good bowling and those bad selections came back to bite us.

Posted by Bra-E on (February 16, 2014, 11:11 GMT)

Every team/person can have a off day or game. It can even happen to New Zealand in rugby. The question is if you as a team can put that behind you.

I will not go to drastic measures if I was SA, but I think Arviro's time is running out. de Kock seems to be the best replacement in my opinion. I think AB is needed in the field to cut off crucial singles and put pressure on the Aussie batsmen.

The 2 catches that Doolan took, was crazy good, but those will not always stick. Aus deserve the win, as they put pressure on SA from after lunch on day 1 and never let go. That's how champions play, and that is why they won.

Posted by dunger.bob on (February 16, 2014, 10:10 GMT)

@ Prabhakar Muthukrishnan: said "It is ironic, however, on current form , it seems that the only lineup that can survive sustained hostile fast bowling is the inexperienced Indian line up!!!" .. while there could be something in that I don't think we're actually talking about fast bowling in general, we're talking this particular one. India haven't faced this line up yet. Up until a couple of days ago SA were considered pretty handy players of pace as well. I guess we'll know more about all that soon enough when India visits next summer. .. Also, one last thing. You forgot the Aussies. We just made 650/14 against the attack most Indians were calling the best in the world just a few days ago. Not only that we played them on one of the bounciest tracks in their home patch. .. Like it or not, that qualifies as a decent batting effort against high class fast bowling.

Posted by Dr.Qwert on (February 16, 2014, 8:27 GMT)

There's definitely hope for SA. AB seemed to positively thrive with the pace of Johnson coming on to the bat, Amla after he was set didn't seem to have too much trouble with him and it took 2 fairly horrendous bounces to get Faf. The series is very much alive. Selectors should really reconsider the team. Alviro Petersen doesn't look up to test cricket. Do SA really need 3 specialist pacemen, a pace bowling all-rounder, a specialist spinner AND JP? Seems pessimistic to think that they'll be in the field long enough to need that in stock. Play to SA's strength with 4 specialist pacemen and JP, leaving room for another bat.

Posted by henchart on (February 16, 2014, 8:05 GMT)

MJ is instilling the fear of lord in the minds of batsmen.He is targetting the body especially the upper part as poor Mclaren,Amla and Philander discovered.One way to counter him is attack.Ab has to come in at no.4 and Smith must attack from the word go.DeCock should replace Alviro and bring back Jacques not Kallis but Rudolph.SA need a dour batsmen in lower middle order who can waste 10 to 15 overs and blunt the pace .Rudolph is the right man .I still feel this series would have no winners with Port Elizabeth being a draw and Newlands going the hosts way.

Posted by   on (February 16, 2014, 8:01 GMT)

It is ironic, however, on current form , it seems that the only lineup that can survive sustained hostile fast bowling is the inexperienced Indian line up!!! They leave balls well, they tire fast bowlers , show plenty of patience and then score. Poor Proteas, could well take a leaf out of their books.

Posted by disco_bob on (February 16, 2014, 7:49 GMT)

How can SA train to prepare them for Johnson unless they have someone who can bowl like that. Conversely after Australia have been facing Mitch in the nets, Morkel must seem like slow motion.

Posted by Dirk_L on (February 16, 2014, 7:41 GMT)

The big difference between Australia of a year ago and Australia now is Lehmann. Not only Johnson, but the whole team is better now. The big difference between South Africa of a year ago and South Africa of a year ago is Kirsten. Not only Amla, but the whole team, is worse now. Arthur may be very thorough, Domingo may be a vey nice guy, but Lehmann and Kirsten know how to get the best out of their players. I hope Smith proves me wrong. If he can salvage even a drawn series from here, he deserves to be called the best captain the game has seen.

Posted by   on (February 16, 2014, 7:16 GMT) it is not only the Indians who cant play fast bowling....looks like the English, the South Africans and now the New Zealanders cant as well...LOL!

Posted by sanjaykk on (February 16, 2014, 6:56 GMT)

it is 3-0 australia here. they cant be stopped. johnson is on a rampage and no world batsman barring on indian below knee bounce pitches can survive! south africans batting and bowling are very predictable and too much to aussies liking! aussie are hot favorites for the world cup, followed by nz, pak etc!

Posted by Protears on (February 16, 2014, 6:08 GMT)

There is so much panic and wholesale changes mentioned or doomsayers calling it. Australia are a team playing well for one and they have Johnson playing as well as he did in 2008-2009, we went into this match with no game plans, AB worked out a game plan but had no support, Hashim Amla looked good to, the nature of the pitch and being so under pressure was telling. Bad performance can happen and this is one many fans and players themselves will call unacceptable.

I am also not suggesting that we don't have players that can come in of better quality than the ones we have in the squad, I have highlighted that Buuren Hendricks and Kyle Abbott are bowling extremely well right now, also Simon Harmer outbowled robin petersen in the warm up game quite horribly and I think these changes will only happen after this series were new blood will get groomed. the players under the microscope Alviro, JP, Robbie P and unfairly Ryan McLaren

Posted by wapuser on (February 16, 2014, 6:02 GMT)

But to be fair to south africa I think if you could have bradman sachin ponting kallis viv richards in team johnson would be tearing through them too. My fear is jono is 32 and by the time the nxt test series comes around he mite not be there.harris wont be unfortunately. I think this is harris last test series he is a champion but his nody is fading quickly

Posted by imtiazjaleel on (February 16, 2014, 5:57 GMT)

MITCHELL JOHNSON - The difference he is making is enormous. Cricket is team game but still one individual can make a big difference specially a bowler. He is like Mike Tyson- Knock outs within seconds. If he remains fit for the next two tests and i believe it will be a white wash for Australia both in Tests and T20s.

Posted by wapuser on (February 16, 2014, 5:56 GMT)

I know its only been one test but there is no excuses for south africa. Both teams played on same pitch and only aus took advantage with both bat and ball. Morkel was bowling quick and hes taller than johnson he should get more bounce. But it wasnt just johnsons pace. He out thought ab devillers twice with slower ball. Over the wicket round the wicket. Only thing he wasnt duin is swing. no bowler of either teams has significant wing. stuard broad troubled aus batters more in aus than SA whole attack. Broad has a good short ball too. Remember wen he got watson right on back of his head

Posted by dunger.bob on (February 16, 2014, 5:23 GMT)

@ kensohatter: re the back up spinner for Australia. There's a young bloke by the name of James Muirhead we're taking to the T20 wc in Bangladesh. He's a leggie and so far has shown a frightening aptitude for his craft. At 20 he still has much to learn and could disappear forever at any time, but gee whizz mate, he looks to have as cool and calculating a bowling brain as anyone has a right to. .. In other words, we all think he's something out of the box but it's way too early to know for sure. Time will tell I guess.

Posted by Sillyshortleg on (February 16, 2014, 5:18 GMT)

Some changes to the SA team are necessary as both batting and bowling looked jaded. Why is Wayne Parnell up for consideration before Beuran Hendricks as left arm seamer? BH has more first class wickets at an average of 12 runs and around 20 balls less per wicket and the Aussies haven't faced him before. Bringing in Parnell may add variety to a predictable attack but precious little threat will accompany him. A Petersen seems out of his depth and JPD has an unacceptably low average for a No. 6. Elgar is not the right man to bring in. Its time de Kock made his test debut based on his first class performances alone.

Posted by wapuser on (February 16, 2014, 5:11 GMT)

Besides england, south africa have had no good opponents to beat in their dominant reign over last 5 years. Australia had its lowest point in cricket in last couple of years, india are only good in india and teams like pak,nz, windies and sri lanka are nowhere near what they used to be in say the 90s. The great aussie teams of 90s and 00s had great teams to beat. Shoaib and akram opening bowling, brian lara for windies,.jayasuria, ranatunga, murali desilvas for sl. Nz had greats in cairns fleming and india with sachin sehwag, nn dravid, laxman kumble harbajahn. Australia did lose more series than expected really but thays coz they alwsys had good opposition.

Posted by Dielo on (February 16, 2014, 4:13 GMT)

Jacque Kallis is a true genius for quitting Tests and persisting with the shorter format of the game. He obviously saw the writing on the wall while the Ashes were going on in Australia and did the best any cricketer could do in his position : retire after an incredible performance against another hapless Indian bowling attack at home.

Posted by wapuser on (February 16, 2014, 3:40 GMT)

England are thinking ' did we just sack our best player and coach? Lol. Hard work will always beat talent if talent doesnt work. Clearly the case with austtalia here. They are playing as a team for each other. An exciting, entrrtaining, brutal brand of team cricket. If watson cant bowl hes not gettin back in. doolan impresses me as a cricketer only 28 in his prime really. you cant drop marsh or doolan now. Might have to be rogers. Why isnt johno swinging the ball?? Or any aussies for that matter?? Wish we played india straight after this series. In this form we need to play as much as possible

Posted by android_user on (February 16, 2014, 2:53 GMT)

I wonder how sachin would have facad Johnson at his peak.... would have been mouth watering contest! cheers

Posted by   on (February 16, 2014, 2:21 GMT)

Yes it's a heavy defeat, but by the looks of some of the comments here it'd seem South Africa have lost since Jesus played shepherd. You don't go seven seasons without an away defeat without real quality. They have defeated Australia in Australia in their last two series. And Australia themselves were blanked 0-4 in India not so long ago. The ICC rankings are a bit tricky given the window it considers. Admittedly, unlike WI of 70s-80s and Australia of 90s, 2000s no 'top ranked' team in recent times has been an undisputed champion for all conditions. But this is only ONE test. Johnson is in the form of his life, his average has dipped from 31 to 27 in a space of 6 tests, so let's give him that due. But Australian batting is still pretty up-n-down. Also, South Africa are beginning to find out life after Kallis, a bonafide modern great. It's the same phase which Australia went through from 2007-2012, and India is going through from 2012 onwards.

Posted by ballsmansy on (February 16, 2014, 2:09 GMT)

Great contest between two of the top nations. South Africa deserve all credit to make it as far as they have and its only a compliment that even a side on a roll was the underdog. Pace can be a killer or atleast shatter some ill equipped bones. Most of the time, Mitch is not even targeting the stumps and thats not a pleasant thought when its coming down at 150 clicks.

Posted by   on (February 16, 2014, 1:51 GMT)

General: Coming out the shdows of India on their hardened but tramphiant performance against England, current performance was expected against S.A fallen on batting through retiring Khallis and now Smith who has obviously tired and about time.The nightmare produced by the paceman Johonston may not be matched by Styen here - it is a different ball game on Austarlian home front.

Posted by Biggus on (February 16, 2014, 1:04 GMT)

@Sourik Bhattacharya:-" Dale Steyn is set to set the track on fire if it even remotely contains a tinge of green.... "

You see, the thing is that also brings Ryan Harris into his element. Rhino is lethal on green or seaming decks, and don't suppose MJ minds a greentop. SA has problems to solve, and soon.

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (February 16, 2014, 1:03 GMT)

Like cook smith starts using words like hope and try. Already clearly expressing uncertainty,lack of belief and true confidence. Soon he might start using cooks mantra "desperate" .

Posted by __PK on (February 16, 2014, 0:53 GMT)

Watch ABD as the series progresses. He reminds me of Pietersen in the recent Ashes, dismissed from two cavalier strokes with his side in trouble. Sure, you could say that he was trying to squeeze as many runs out of the situation as he could before his partners went, but the same applied to Pietersen a few times, too. But it didn't stop people getting on his back and we know what happened after England went home.

Posted by dunger.bob on (February 16, 2014, 0:41 GMT)

I can't decide if the short turn around between Tests is good or bad for South Africa. I think it has potential to be one, the other, or both.

Having very little time to regroup and work on some things could mean the Saffa's still have the head spins and will just be relying on instinct. That could be good or it could be bad depending on what those instincts are. Backing away to square leg = bad. Watching the ball like a hawk & guttsing it out = good. It'll be interesting to see whether fight or flight prevails.

Another bad thing about back to back tests is that the team with the momentum doesn't have to cool it's heels for too long and doesn't lose much steam out of the boiler. .. I've almost convinced myself it's in Australia's favour to play again in 4 or 5 days but there could be something I'm missing here.

Posted by Bockee on (February 16, 2014, 0:34 GMT)

I do hope SA bounce back and make this one of the truly great test series. But looking at them over the last two days you have to doubt their fight - shoddy fielding, waiting for wickets instead of making something happen and no desire to bat for long periods save for the sublime AB de V. They're a mess without Kallis. Sad to see really.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (February 16, 2014, 0:29 GMT)

The difference with The Ashes is that this is a 3 test series. Australia are only 1 good spell away from winning it, even if there isn't any mental scarring SA are hanging by a thread already whether they like it or not.

Posted by kensohatter on (February 15, 2014, 23:52 GMT)

Hopefully this series will put an end to the debate of the worlds greatest bowling attack. Everyone needs to remember that they still have Pattison and Cummins returning from injury. Add Starc and Bird to the mix and the only glaring hole is a back up spinner which on English and SA wickets is not a massive prob. In contrast Eng and SA are both at least one quality bowler short in a potential first choice line up. Eng lack a third seamer with all rounder stokes not being world class just yet. Plus now with Swann gone they to lack a spinner. SA also lack a decent spinner and im yet to be convinced of Morkel

Posted by   on (February 15, 2014, 23:04 GMT)

I agree SA will bounce back. Just about everything in this Test rolled Australia's way. Question is, can they bounce back enough? Australia, too, can play better than this!

Posted by Mitty2 on (February 15, 2014, 22:31 GMT)

@Protears, "Steyn will bounce back" - mate he had a very good game regardless he has nothing to bounce back from. I reckon the Aussies have just accepted that Steyn will take over 5 wickets a match and they'll try to take down Vernon and Morkel instead - and obviously Peterson.

Posted by andy2142 on (February 15, 2014, 22:24 GMT)

@goldengreens- getting a bit too carried away mate. The IPL and the next subcontinent series will bring back Mitchell Johnson to his original form and from there on the performances of the other Aussie players will start looking ordinary. So dream on mate that this team will reach any closer to the great Steve Waugh team that achieved 16 wins in a row.

Posted by   on (February 15, 2014, 22:04 GMT)

@gogoldengreens! You guys never cease to amaze us. You loose 4-0 against flat track bullies!!! Your guys can' t play on flat tracks? Was somebody missing their X-Factor?You have world class people on your line up. Yet you lose 4-0. Come to think of it Steve Bucknor helped you to win a test series in OZ. Otherwise it was a test series which flat track bullies would have won. OZ's under border, waugh are the real teams. No doubt. Ponting carried on the legacy. After a while when you were loosing everything, you guys were wounding your own team. Now when Lehmann is working wonders, you claim you are the real #1. Agreed. But learn to play on Flat tracks as well boss! Stats are favouring you in your own country. So is for everyone in their own country. Please stop this Flat track bullies blah blah etc. Grow up Mate

Posted by Shongololo on (February 15, 2014, 22:04 GMT)

Congrats to Australia, outplayed us for all sessions barring the first one, which we probably shared. But let's not write us off just yet. We are not England or India, we have spine, guts and pride. We showed none of that at Centurion, we were rubbish. We are a far better team than the one that was on display at Centurion and it's time we stood up and showed why we're still number 1. Must agree with SurlyCynic though, McLaren and Peterson are ordinary bits and pieces players. Add to that Alviro Petersen who looks scared and has always been marginally above average at best and a JP Duminy who must be on his last chance (perhaps his bowling saves him as it's no worse than Peterson's) and we need to make a few changes, bring in specialists. De Kock to keep and bat at seven, Amla to open with Smith, Stiaan van Zyl at three, AB at 4, followed by Faf, Duminy (then QdK), Vern, Dale, Morne and Beuran Hendricks.

Posted by gogoldengreens on (February 15, 2014, 19:46 GMT)

"I doubt there is mental scarring". Who's speaking the bull dot dot dot now Graeme??

Sou Africa, England & India all pretenders to holding ICC #1 test team. The rightful holders will be well on their way to reclaim it after they win in Sou Africa then can't wait to get the flat track bullies on home soil. By then Aus may be well on their way to again equal winning 16 tests in a row...

Winning 16 tests in a row twice, thrashing a team where they have only lost once before, took all 100 wickets on offer in a series... Marks of the real #1 nation

Posted by Protears on (February 15, 2014, 19:39 GMT)

People over reacting a lot here, the defeat serves as a harsh reminder that form is king and under current regimes South Africa is not playing a lot of test cricket in a year. hopefully signing the mandates mean we get more series to play and longer series. Against India in a curtailed series we were showing the effects of not playing a test in over 7 months and by the end it was the same old players pulling the weight.

Steyn will bounce back, he is fresh of broken ribs and that for a fast bowler is an inhibiting injury, Smith often has resolve to bounce back and Amla started to look better in a situation that we found ourselves in it is a shock to the system but there is enough talent to bounce back

It is like Apollo 13 and Jim Lovell's comment, there were just a lot of things that went wrong.

Posted by   on (February 15, 2014, 19:20 GMT)

SA will bounce back. SA is not England. I'm pretty sure they'll figure out a way to deal with Johnson.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (February 15, 2014, 19:13 GMT)

As an SA fan, firstly congrats to Aus. Johnson was truly awesome, operating at a level few have reached in the history of the game. Not great to see SA get destroyed but as a cricket lover it's good to see real pace as it's so rare. Good to see Marsh getting runs too.

From an SA perspective my heart sank as soon as I saw McLaren and Peterson in the team. Bits and pieces players. Peterson's 'spin' is no better than Duminy's in SA so replace him with a batsman like Van Zyl or Elgar. Philander is a containing bowler once the ball is old so the 4th seamer needs to be Parnell, Abbott or Beuran Hendricks, maybe De Lange in the longer term.

But it's also clear that this team is coming to the end of it's cycle. Kallis gone, Smith near the end, Steyn has more niggles and can't ramp it up as often as 5 years ago. Young talent needs to be brought in soon to rebuild.

But whatever we do, if Johnson bowls like that again, particularly if the pitches have variable bounce, then Aus will win 3-0.

Posted by aahahaa on (February 15, 2014, 19:10 GMT)

We deserve everything we get - how wise...

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 15, 2014, 19:09 GMT)

@DaGameChanger Heh... you have no idea how deep the Australian pace stocks run do you? It's the one department nobody is that worried about. It's nice to have Mitch in the fine form he's in right now, but we won't exactly have a weak pace attack even if all 3 of them bowed out in the next year or 2. We've got a couple of left arm quicks in the bank and plenty of righties.

Posted by Protears on (February 15, 2014, 19:05 GMT)

It is probably the worst defeat since the Gaul Maul by Sangakkara and Jayawardene, completely flat doesn't even begin to describe the performance and in PE I think a few better show up with intention to perform because the talent knocking on the door means the Alviro's, JP's, Robbie P's and Morkel are not immune from seeing the end of test careers. There is far to many talents to pass up for a few that can't seem to summon any kind of fortitude to stand up and be accounted for, instead play passanger whilst the regular stalwarts carried them.

I don't see radical changes this series but I see radical changes after 4-5 spots are up for grabs.

Posted by Alexk400 on (February 15, 2014, 18:59 GMT)

Morkel all his height never threatening. Philander kinda exposed man without any teeth in his bowling. SA need replacement in bowling, They need someone give back to australia. I think SA problem is they are contend with where they are. They are not aggressively bringing young new fast bowlers. Morkel was stagnant for 2 years. Philander just gets garbage wickets against weak teams. SA openers also bad. You do not get beat in your own backyard. This is awful.

Posted by   on (February 15, 2014, 18:55 GMT)

Drop Duminy and bring in someone who can bat. Robin Peterson and Ryan McLaren also will have to go.

Posted by   on (February 15, 2014, 18:44 GMT)

Problem with green Track is it wont be one way traffic and then losing the toss would probably end the game there and there itself.Fact is St Georges is the worst track in SA even worse than spinning Durban.quickies do have good records there but an out of sorts Pakistan and woefully poor Windies thrashed South Africa there in 07 and 08

Posted by DaGameChanger on (February 15, 2014, 18:41 GMT)

Just like other two previous nations England and India..even SA wont be able to stay at number 1 too long. There has been seismic shift in cricket. Last series, Indian Rookie test team almost gave SA run for their money which included Kallis. Now without him, SA probably have gone a notch below which will give Australia and India good chance to knock SA off. Australia seems to be a very good team at this time but their unfortunate part is Johnson is doing most of the damage, if he gets injured or loses form, they will also be back to same level. I think its going to great next 3 years between AUS, India and SA.

Posted by Great_Nate on (February 15, 2014, 18:38 GMT)

'but it turned out the pitch was better for batting on the first day and became riddled with variable bounce later on'

You can't blame the pitch or not batting first. Australia got double century partnerships in both innings while SA struggled to score 200!

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 15, 2014, 18:36 GMT)

@jokerbala You can't prepare a pitch to swing, it has nothing to do with the pitch. Except for reverse, but a green track is the worst thing in the world to try and get reverse swing out of. If you don't think MJ can bowl a fuller length to take advantage of seam movement on a greentop I really hope they prepare one. You'll find out something new. You'll also find out about Harris and Siddle. Actually, I think a greentop would make a damn fine contest, they might as well prepare one. Flat tracks and bouncy ones aren't going to work.

Posted by jokerbala on (February 15, 2014, 18:22 GMT)

the only way i see SA coming back in this series is by preparing green tops with lots of swing.I still think steyn and philander are masters in seaming swinging conditions,not so much on flat and bouncy tracks where mitch johnson is lethal.

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (February 15, 2014, 18:15 GMT)

Even India almost had them in tests I think SA is going to slide down. Smith is not the same bat Amla not in form and deviller is the only bat. As for bowler the spinner is a joke and no one can replace Kallis. He was the glue

Posted by Forza_Scuderia on (February 15, 2014, 18:14 GMT)

"Perhaps it will help that the Port Elizabeth pitch will not have as much in it for the quicks"

The problem with South Africa preparing benign pitches to thwart the pace and bounce of Johnson is that they take their own quicks out of the game. England thought the same thing in the lead up to the Adelaide test... Pace is pace and no pitch is going to change that. They have to find a way to deal with Johnson or they will be facing another hammering, period.

The other problem for The Proteas is that the Australian battling lineup is starting to hit their straps right down to number 9.

Posted by Newlandsfaithful on (February 15, 2014, 18:04 GMT)

I don't think Smith is taking this seriously enough. So dominant was Australia that if SA batted again they still would not have reached the score. Apart from AB there was simply no proper batting to even speak of. Something drastic must happen. There is nothing to lose - this team can't win.

Posted by   on (February 15, 2014, 17:59 GMT)

Australia hurt them badly, both physically and mentally. It is not the same as what Pakistan did 5 months back in Dubai. Ms. Moonda is wrong, SA would find it very difficult to recover. Motivation, pride aside, Australian bowling is top notch. I do not see SA crossing 350 in this test series and that means they simply can not win.

Posted by   on (February 15, 2014, 17:49 GMT)

the way mitchi is bowling he could demolish any first test micthi was the difference he overshadowed likes of styen.....aussies will win this series 3 nil....south africa without kallis will take time to settle down....

Posted by   on (February 15, 2014, 17:38 GMT)

They simply got blown away by the X-factor in the moustache faced Mitchell Johnson. Submitting 12 wickets to him is just unacceptable by the high standards set by South African cricket over the past 7-8 years. Also, Shaun Marsh got rid of the ghosts of having a first class average 35 and produced a magnificent 148 in the 1st innings. Vernon Philander needs to pitch the ball up a bit and let the swing and seam do the wonder. It is the best time for Quinton de Kock to make his Test debut. The second Test would be more interesting and the Africans would do anything to level the series 1-1 there. Johnson should not think that he is invincible; right now. Dale Steyn is set to set the track on fire if it even remotely contains a tinge of green....

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Tour Results
South Africa v Australia at Centurion - Mar 14, 2014
Australia won by 6 wickets (with 30 balls remaining)
South Africa v Australia at Durban - Mar 12, 2014
Australia won by 5 wickets (with 2 balls remaining)
South Africa v Australia at Port Elizabeth - Mar 9, 2014
Match abandoned without a ball bowled
South Africa v Australia at Cape Town - Mar 1-5, 2014
Australia won by 245 runs
South Africa v Australia at Port Elizabeth - Feb 20-23, 2014
South Africa won by 231 runs
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