AUSSIES TO AVOID FIFTH STRAIGHT LOSS
SKIPPER Steve Smith and his Australia team are under big pressure from South Africa and their own selectors as they try to bounce back from one of their worst losing streaks in the second Test at Hobart tomorrow. The Australians sunk to a comprehensive 177-run loss to the Proteas in the series opener in Perth with the team coming under heavy criticism over their capitulation. South Africa were missing their influential skipper AB de Villiers and lost pace spearhead Dale Steyn with a series-ending shoulder injury yet still outplayed the home team. It was Australia’s first loss in an opening Test of their home season in 28 years and they have now slumped to four straight defeats after crashing in all three Tests on their July-August tour of Sri Lanka. “I would say every spot is under pressure,” Australian coach Darren Lehmann admitted, with Smith adding: “Every aspect of our game needs improvement.” The last time Australia lost four Tests in a row in India three years ago, then coach Mickey Arthur was sacked.