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Sutherland backs Test side, skipper

AAP logoAAP 12/11/2016

Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland has come to the defence of the nation's Test team culture, labelling criticism by former South African captain Graeme Smith as opportunistic.

Sutherland responded to claims made by Smith that the Australian side, which has posted four Test losses on the trot against the Proteas, weren't up for the fight.

"It's nearly laughable for him (Smith) to be making comments on the culture of the Australian team," Sutherland told Fox Sports on Saturday's opening day of the second Test in Hobart.

Smith, who captained South Africa in 108 Tests, said Australia had found themselves in an interesting position with the latest blow coming in the form of a 177-run drubbing at the WACA.

"If I think about earlier years, it was always built on respect and the value of the baggy green," the South African said this week.

"Maybe players didn't always get on but they respected the environment and they were traditional and they understood the importance of what playing for Australia meant."

Smith played his last Test in 2014 and Sutherland said he's out of touch.

"He wouldn't know what's going on in the Australian dressing room and (it's) inappropriate for him to comment.

"He's just being opportunistic to throw a bomb."

Sutherland said Cricket Australia are strong backers of their captain.

"It's a tough job being a captain of a cricket team but we've got great confidence in Steve, he's a world-class batsman, he's doing the right thing."

Smith was appointed to the full-time role in late 2015 at an age quite a few years younger than predecessors such as Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke.

"He probably hasn't got the stand-out team that they inherited when they came into the job and I think if we give him time we're absolutely confident he's the right man for the job," Sutherland added.

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