Former South African skipper Graeme Smith appears to have had the last laugh in his Twitter battle with ex-Australia quick Mitchell Johnson after the Proteas recorded a crushing win in the second Test in Hobart to seal their third successive Test series victory Down Under.
The war of words began after Smith had said “something is not right” with Australia following their recent string of poor results.
"There is obviously a lack of confidence that has developed, maybe through these losses, and the way they collapsed and fell away in that Perth Test. To me, it showed that, maybe, there is a lack of confidence or self-belief in that set-up at the moment. It does show me that there is something that's not right there.
"I was quite surprised at some of the selections that came to South Africa in the one-day series, and that hurt them badly. They lost 5-0. For me, [the Australian team] was obviously built on the skill factor, but it was always built on a hardness, a really strong respect and culture for that Australian environment. I wonder whether it's this whole rotation policy, whether some of that has been lost: that culture, that respect within the environment has been lost with so many different players coming through the system,” Smith had said at a dinner function at the SCG.
His comments, however, did not go down well in Australia with both Johnson and Cricket Australia’s boss James Sutherland hitting back.
“I think it’s nearly laughable for him to be making comments on the culture of the Australian team. I think Graeme’s been out of the game for a while, he doesn’t know what’s going on in the Australian dressing room and it’s inappropriate for him to comment. I think he’s being opportunistic to throw a bomb,” Sutherland said.
Johnson took to Twitter, saying that such statements should not come from a player whose side has the habit of choking at big moments.
Mitchell Johnson (@MitchJohnson398) November 13, 2016
Unfortunately for Johnson and Sutherland, Australia crumbled to a humiliating loss again in Hobart, shot out for 85 and 161, as the Proteas won by an innings to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-Test series.