Australias captain Steven Smith has refused to blame an unusual schedule for his sides poor display in the first Test of the summer, a defeat that made it four in a row and the first opening loss of a home season for 28 years.In order to cater for a second day-night fixture in the summer in Brisbane, the traditional Gabba opening was swapped for a first Test in Perth, where South Africa have never lost a Test match.Additionally, the early November start meant that Australias players had only one Sheffield Shield match, with a pink ball, to prepare for the WACA ground. By contrast, South Africas squad had two warm-up matches before the first Test and will have another under lights before the third Test is played under flood lights in Adelaide.Look I cant comment on scheduling that is put in place pretty early, Smith said. So for me its about making sure that the guys prepare as well as they can and I think we all had a Shield game, all the batters who played, most of the batters scored runs in that Shield game and had some valuable time in the middle.We were in a position to be able to drive the game having bowled South Africa out for 240 and then getting to 0 for 150. We had another big collapse of nine for 100, and we werent able to capitalise on what the openers did to put us in a great position.Smith focused on the way Australias first innings unravelled virtually from the moment Dale Steyn was injured, meaning the hosts were unable to place any pressure on the South Africas bowling attack, led superbly by the man of the match, Kagiso Rabada. Such collapses have become troublingly commonplace for the Australians.It has happened a little bit of late, which is disappointing and the batters really have to continue to work hard to try and rectify what they are doing out in the middle there, Smith said. We have to form some more partnerships and get big first-innings totals. And if I think if we were able to build quite a big lead on that wicket, it would have been a different story.I guess for us it was just about trying to spend time out in the middle and I guess grind them down. When you have two fast bowlers, I guess the way they used them and the way we thought theyd use them, to use the quicks from one end and some spin at the other end. So, if you keep them out there for long periods of time they cant continue to do that for a long period of time.But we werent able to capitalise after Dale went down and we let them get back into the game and run away with it. So, credit to the way South Africa played, I think in their second innings the partnership between Duminy and Elgar really took the game away from us and we weent able to come back from there.Looking ahead to Hobart, Smith said the team needed to find a lot of improvement in a short space of time. When we get out in the middle we have to do things better. We havent been able to do that for a while and if we want to stay in this series we have to turn it around quickly in Hobart.When you are playing international cricket you are always under some sort of pressure, the guys have prepared well, they were excited for this series, we know South Africa are formidable opponents and they outplayed us in this Test match. We are going to have to play a hell of a lot better if we want to compete with them in the next game. Womens Thunder Jerseys
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