South Africa took a 1-0 lead over Australia and we can't help, but stress on certain facts which didn't fail to catch our eye. Faf du Plessis' side registered a comprehensive 177 runs wins over the Aussies at the WACA, Perth, and the likes of Kagiso Rabida, JP Duminy and of course, the Proteas skipper were the stars. Smith, once again, failed.
It comes after a 5-0 whitewash by the AB De Villiers-sans South Africa side on Australia in the ODI series just before the Test series in South Africa. With the series shifting to Australia, what can the home team do to at least try and clinch the next two Test matches? They do not have the upper hand now, but almost everyone is hoping Smith's side give the fight they are capable of to at least in the next two games to try and win the series.
Perth didn't turn out to be a happy hunting ground for Smith and Co. Let's look at how everything transpired:
Steve Smith - hey captain, what's going wrong?
The answer, well, the 27-year-old knows himself. Following his overall poor performance in the ODI series, Smith has just not found the magic touch that he used to have not a very long back. The Australian batsman picked up just 34 runs over the two innings -- duck in the first one and 34 off 118 balls in the second one -- to not help his side very much to get an upper hand in the Perth Test.
Australian middle order batsmen - where art thou?
David Warner and Shaun Marsh have been the only two bright signs for the home team in the batting context. The duo smashed half centuries is the first innings for their team, while Usman Khawaja also tried to get close to a century in the second innings for the Aussies. That was it. What about the middle order batsmen? Adam Vogues and Mitchell Marsh -- have they faded out into oblivion? Peter Nevill did try to hide the middle order shame with his half century in the second innings, but nevertheless the problem is out in the open and the home team needs to do something about that at the earliest.
De Villiers, get some good rest, Du Plessis is here
Pretty sure AB De Villiers will be smiling from his couch, seeing the performances of his men, spearheaded by Faf du Plessis. "Gutsy performance by the bowlers, top Captaincy by Du Plessis, all round great team performance! Keep pushing boys, almost there," the veteran tweeted. "What a great start for the Proteas! Superb performance by the entire team. Onwards and upwards," he added. Five ODI matches against the mighty Aussies bossed, the first Test match bossed, what next for the 32-year-old Proteas star now? Du Plessis was not that great with his bat as he scored 69 runs over the two innings, but he definitely solidified his team's batting line-up, with proper support from the middle order.
Dale Steyn injury unfortunate, but Rabada and Vernon Philander are here
Steyn, the one bowler everyone is familiar with even if one is not a very great cricket fan, is out of the entire Test series now owing to an injury in his right shoulder. But, Rabada, the man of the match and Philander, made sure not to highlight any problem owing to the 33-year-old pacer's absence. Steyn took one wicket after bowling 12 and a half overs in the first Australian innings. Following that, it was Philander and Rabada who stepped up. While Philander took 5 wickets over the two innings, Rabada's five wicket mark in the second innings took the Australia by storm. He took a total of seven wickets from the first Test.
What should Australia do to at the second Test in Hobart?
With just five days to go for the second Test, Steve Smith's need to do just one thing. Perform as a unit. Nothing more. The bowlers, the batsmen (especially the middle order ones) and Smith himself has to completely transform their current performance and bring their best feet forward. News has just come in that Shaun Marsh is out of the next Test match owing to a broken finger and Joe Burns and Callum Ferguson will be called in the squad. "We have had a few collapses of late... that have let us down when we have been in a position to drive the game. What's next? We try and let go of this performance," Smith was quoted by Guardian as saying after the game.