Johnson took 12 wickets and landed Ryan McLaren in hospital and out of the second test with delayed concussion as he steered Australia to a crushing 281-run victory in Pretoria over the weekend.
But captain Smith said the South African batsmen have no fear of facing the left-arm fast bowler and believes they will be better prepared to tackle him in Port Elizabeth.
“It’s important not to get caught up in the hype (around Johnson),” Smith told reporters on Wednesday.
“Obviously we know Mitchell has bowled extremely well, bowled aggressively. We all know that creates headlines, creates stories, creates fanfare.
“Certainly there’s a huge amount of respect in our team for someone who is performing well, but it’s important not to get caught up in that, and focus on what’s important, and that’s us performing well and getting our skills right.”
Johnson got Smith out cheaply in both innings in Pretoria, but the left-handed batsman backed himself to find a way to play the Australian.
“I’ve faced Mitchell a lot of times – times where he’s had the better of me and times I’ve had the better of him,” Smith said.
“One dismissal doesn’t make you lose credibility. There are a lot of guys who’ve been able to perform against the fastest bowlers in the world over a long time. I’ve made a career out of looking ugly. If I can keep doing that I’ll be happy.”
Smith does not believe there will be too many demons in the wicket, although it does have a healthy covering of grass which should make it quick.
“It is not a ground we come to a lot on the test circuit, but it looks like a pretty normal PE wicket to me. We would love a result wicket,” he said.
Smith suggested that the team have put any lingering doubts from the Pretoria mauling behind them.
“It’s important you have the ability to respond and know how to respond,” he said. “Experience plays a big role there, in terms of performances to fall back on. This week, it’s about not carrying too much baggage from Pretoria and making sure we can put it into our performance here.”
(Editing by Josh Reich)