Smith, Clarke Laud Unstoppable Johnson after Australia Crush South Africa

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By Shruthi SU | February 16, 2014 7:01 PM EST

Australia won the first Test over South Africa in Centurion in grand style by 281 runs. The player of the match was no doubt the Aussie pacer who fetched 12 wickets - Mitchell Johnson. The two sides' skippers Michael Clarke and Graeme Smith extended their warm congratulations, as the world took note of Johnson's demolition of the Proteas batting order.

Reuters
Mitchell Johnson

"Whether you play the game or watch the game, you know. They have seen it against England. He showed it here again in different conditions," Clarke said. "It's amazing skill to be able to bowl fast but it's being able to hit that mark as often as Mitchell does. That's class, that's world class. Mitch has got the right attitude. He wants to get better, he thinks he can improve."

Clarke's counterpart Smith was in full agreement about Johnson's key role in the Test match. "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," said Smith.

At the end of the series, Australia has every chance of getting higher up to the second position in the ICC Test rankings. South Africa, however, will remain at the top. "We're up against the number-one side so I think that's good motivation for us to just keep getting better," Johnson said. "I don't think you ever play a perfect game, but it felt pretty good out there today.

"It is something that I will look back on at the end of my career and be proud of that moment but for now it is only one Test match and we have two to come."

Australia are coming together as a team from one series victory to the next thanks to all the players looking to improve said the man in the limelight, Johnson.

"We said during the summer back home that we want to get better as a team and for me personally I just want to keep that consistency going, keep bowling those short spells and keep that pace up," the fast-bowler added on Saturday.

"We bowled really well as a bowling attack today, I was really excited about how we bowled today and thought we stopped them in their tracks."

Smith's men had hoped for a better day in the middle but it just wasn't to be. "We deserve every bit that comes our way," said skipper Smith. "There's going to be a lot of criticism and fan emotion. We didn't live up to expectations."

South Africans have to now make sure the defeat won't bog them down for the rest of the series. "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 added.

The Proteas are trying to be optimistic about the coming matches. With different pitch conditions, Smith hopes his team will bounce back. "I doubt there is much mental scarring," he said. "We've lost a game of cricket and we've been beaten comprehensively. It's important that we move away now."

(Photo: Reuters / )
Mitchell Johnson
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