The second Test in Port Elizabeth will be about not carrying too much baggage from Centurion, Proteas skipper Graeme Smith says. Photo by Alexander Joe

Port Elizabeth – The Proteas will not carry any baggage with them into the second Test against Australia, captain Graeme Smith said in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday.

“This week will be about not carrying too much baggage from Centurion,” Smith said ahead of Thursday's Test at St George's Park.

“We need to know Centurion is behind us, and this is PE and 1/8work out 3/8 how can we win here. That will be the crucial mindset.”

Smith's side lost convincingly in the first of a three-Test series, mainly through the outstanding efforts of Australia's Mitchell Johnson.

The fast bowler decimated the South African batting line-up, returning a career-best 12/127.

Smith said it seemed the Proteas made a habit of getting off the mark too slowly.

“It's difficult to say why we've started so slowly in a lot of series,” the skipper said.

“Maybe we just don't like to throw the first punch. We need to have the ability to respond, and experience plays a big role there.”

The short gap between the two Tests would be good for his side, coming off a heavy loss, he said.

“It's a fairly quick turnaround which I feel is a good thing. We've got straight back into our work.

“I'm hoping that first hit-out will help us get back to our best. We've lacked a little bit of competitive cricket coming into this series.

“That was shown in the first Test and we were certainly outplayed.”

While the Proteas were widely criticised for their under-par performance in the first Test, Smith highlighted the good results the team had achieved over the last 18 months.

“One dismissal doesn't make you lose credibility,” he said.

“I've made a career out of looking ugly. If I can keep doing that I'll be happy.”

Putting on partnerships at the top of the order would be crucial in alleviating pressure, Smith said.

“When you're behind the game, the other team is going to have a lot more attacking fielders than you are.

“If we can get ourselves ahead of the game that will all change.”

While there was considerable grass cover on the pitch less than 24 hours before the first ball, Smith said it was a regular Port Elizabeth wicket.

South Africa lost the first Test against Pakistan in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in October, and came back to level the series 1-1 in the second and final Test.

Smith said the side would draw on that experience as they attempted a comeback against the Aussies.

“We need to be able to play the type of cricket that is needed to be successful in Port Elizabeth.” – Sapa