South Africa won't have long to turn itself around

SOUTH Africa has just four days to lick its wounds before having to confront the unstoppable force that is Mitchell Johnson again.

After going down to Australia by a mammoth 281 runs at Centurion, the hosts will head to Port Elizabeth for the second Test starting on Thursday, physically bruised and battered.

And while the world No.1-ranked Proteas, more than a little mentally shaken as well after Johnson ripped through their batting line-up twice to finish with career-best match figures of 12-127, skipper Graeme Smith backed his players to bounce back.

Smith said it would help being in a "different part of the country with different conditions".

"He is hot at the moment, (and) we need to find a way to curb that and put him under pressure," he said

"I think the conditions certainly suited his style of bowling - and he was able to extract every bit of life and uncertainty out of this wicket."

The red-hot Johnson finished with 5-59 as South Africa was bundled out for 200 in the second innings, while also striking both Hashim Amla and Ryan McLaren on the helmet and Vernon Philander on the hand with deliveries close to 150kmh.

But, Smith doubted there would be "much mental scarring".

"We've lost a game of cricket - we've been beaten comprehensively - but it's important that we move away now," he said.

"There's two big Test matches left in the series and we need to make sure we perform well in the next one."

While the Proteas may look at bringing an extra batsman into the line-up for the all-important second Test, the Aussies will mull over whether to bring back Shane Watson in place of Doolan.

"I think there's areas we can get better," captain Michael Clarke said.

South Africa has not lost a home Test series in five years, since being upset by the Australians 2-1 in 2009.


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