fast bowler Mitchell Johnson celebrates with his teammates after dismissing South Africa
skipper Graeme Smith in the first Test, 13 February. Reuters
South Africa and Graeme Smith have tried their utmost to play down the Mitchell I-scare-the-heck-out-of-batsmen Johnson factor, but try as they might, there is little doubt that there will be quite a few batsmen in home colours sweating a little more than they would normally do, thinking about the prospect of coming up against the express left-arm quick, who is just in the zone at the moment.
Where to Watch Live
The second Test match is scheduled for a 10.30 am local time (2 pm IST) start with live coverage on Ten Cricket in India. The action can be caught through live streaming in India HERE. The match will be shown live in South Africa and several other parts of Africa on SuperSport 2, with the live streaming option HERE. Viewers in Australia can live stream the action HERE, while UK viewers can catch the match live online HERE. The action can be live streamed in the US HERE.
Johnson tore into the South African batting lineup in the first Test, picking up 12 wickets and with it handing Australia a thoroughly dominating 281-run win.
Skipper Smith, who was dismissed by Johnson in both innings, insisted South Africa were not going to go into the second Test in Port Elizabeth worrying too much about the Australian fast bowler.
"It's important not to get caught up in the hype," the opener said. "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.
"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."
While Johnson was the obvious difference-maker in the first Test, the Australia batsmen also stepped up admirably, negating what was not too long ago the most feared bowling attack in the world.
Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander were not even remotely as effective as they would have liked to be against Australia at the first time of asking, and South Africa will need their premier pacers to come to the fore, on a pitch which might not aid the pace bowlers as much as Centurion, if they are to pull themselves back in the series.
The last time South Africa lost a series was five years ago, to Australia, and if they let Johnson run amok again, that epic run of not losing a series for such a long time could come to an end.
"South Africa are a wonderful team with a lot of experience," Australia skipper Michael Clarke said. "They'll be at the top of their game. I don't think one loss should be an indication that it's a generation change or South African cricket is in trouble.
"They're a very good team led by a very good captain. We're improving as a team, but I think we believe we're still a long way from being the best team in the world."
Team news: South Africa: Dean Elgar or Wayne Parnell could feature against Australia in the second Test, with Ryan McLaren ruled out of the match after suffering a concussion courtesy a Johnson bouncer. Quinton De Kock could also make his debut, with the wicketkeeper/batsman called up as cover for the ill Alviro Peterson.
Australia: Shane Watson will have to wait for his chance to return to the Australian lineup, with Clarke insisting the all-rounder would only return to the playing XI once he is fit enough to bowl. Shaun Marsh and Alex Doolan were impressive in the first Test, and will be keen to take that confidence into the Port Elizabeth match.
Expected lineups: South Africa: Graeme Smith (capt), Quinton De Kock, Hashim Amla, Faf Du Plessis, AB De Villiers, JP Duminy, Dean Elgar, Robin Peterson, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel.
Australia: Chris Rogers, David Warner, Alex Doolan, Shaun Marsh, Michael Clarke (capt), Steven Smith, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Ryan Harris, Nathan Lyon.
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