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Smith knows heat is on desperate Aussies

AAP logoAAP 10/11/2016 Rob Forsaith

Steve Smith knows there is good reason the knives are out, calling on his under-siege side to adopt a ruthless approach as they seek to achieve a turnaround that Australia haven't managed at home since 1968.

Smith found an unwanted place in the history books at the WACA, where Australia dropped the first Test of their home summer for the first time since 1988.

Australia's second Test against South Africa starts on Saturday in Hobart, where a fifth straight Test defeat will also consign the hosts to series defeat.

Similar losing streaks resulted in change at the top: coach Mickey Arthur was sacked in 2013 following homeworkgate, while an emotional Kim Hughes resigned as captain in 1984.

History also shows the immense challenge Smith's team face over the next fortnight, with the potential series decider to come under lights at Adelaide Oval.

Australia haven't won a home series after losing the first Test since 1968. Potential showers on days one and two of the second Test could make that even harder to achieve.

Predicted rain has also clouded the team selection.

Adam Voges was passed fit on Friday and will play but selectors remain unsure whether Callum Ferguson should debut at the expense of allrounder Mitch Marsh.

Smith acknowledged Australia need to lift on Saturday - regardless of selections, pitch and weather

"We obviously haven't played overly well," Smith said on Friday.

"I've seen a lot of the criticism and I guess when you're losing cricket games that sort of criticism is warranted.

"We've not been good enough ... we have to turn it around and make sure the criticism goes the other way."

The classy batsman has been working hard in the nets and doing his best to ensure the squad are as upbeat and confident as possible.

Smith has implored teammates, who dominated the Proteas in Perth on day one only to hand over the ascendancy with a first-innings collapse of 10-86, to put the foot on the throat if given the chance.

"We need to find a way to make sure we really nail a team when we get on top of them," he said.

"We're letting oppositions back into the game too easily. That's one thing we've talked about here."

Voges tested out his hamstring on Friday morning, doing some sprint work and running between the wickets under the watchful eye of team medical staff and chairman of selectors Rod Marsh.

There was speculation the 37-year-old could be dropped on form but Smith indicated that won't happen.

""He's come through his fitness test fine so I think he'll be good to go," Smith said.

Ferguson could still be handed a baggy green, with Smith admitting selectors are weighing up whether to axe out-of-form allrounder Marsh.

"You might not need to have that extra bowling option if there's going to be lots of rain around and the bowlers are going to get some adequate rest," the skipper said, when asked about Marsh's place in the side.

"We could go in with six genuine batsmen but we'll wait and see in the morning."

The hosts have already made two forced changes after their 177-run loss to the Proteas, with Joe Burns and Joe Mennie called up in place of Shaun Marsh (broken finger) and Peter Siddle (back).

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