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Aussies not mentally gone: psychologist

AAP logoAAP 10/11/2016 Warren Barnsley

Australia's cricketers haven't been competitive in a Test match since February but the team's psychologist has denied players have developed widening chinks in their mental armour.

Under pressure after four-straight losses, captain Steve Smith has admitted to taking out his frustrations during the first Test loss to South Africa on a punching bag.

"It's Sunday night, a few hours after the end of day four of the first Test, and I am raining blow after blow on a punching bag," Smith wrote in a News Corp Australia article.

"Sometimes I need to do a boxing session to let out all my pent up anger, and that's exactly what I've done on this occasion.

"I was so angry with myself for getting out close to the end of play, with the Test pretty much in the balance, that I couldn't just go back to the team hotel and rest."

A number of former players, including national selector Mark Waugh and South Africans Kepler Wessels and Graeme Smith, have cast doubts around the side's mental toughness.

Waugh has challenged Australia's top order to sharpen up mentally after their latest batting capitulations where, after having South Africa on the ropes heading into day two in Perth, they slumped to a 177-run loss.

"I think it's a bit of a mental thing now, possibly. We've had it happen to us probably three or four times in recent times - in Sri Lanka. We go back to England, that was a while ago," he told Fox Sports' Inside Cricket program this week.

But Cricket Australia sports psychologist Michael Lloyd denied there was in issue.

"I know there's been a little bit written and said about that. There's no psychological issue there," Lloyd told SEN radio on Thursday.

Lloyd backed the team's preparation ahead of the second Test in Hobart, saying they gave themselves the best possible chance of returning to form.

"We did a really good review and debrief of that game, identified the areas they can be better and got some really nice, clear plans about what needs to be done down in Hobart," he said.

They're ... really focused on turning that performance around."

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