Smith ruled out of ongoing Test against Australia

January 4th, 2009 - 7:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Jan 4 (IANS) South Africa’s prospect of a historic 3-0 whitewash against Australia received a setback with skipper Graeme Smith being ruled out for the remaining three days of the final cricket Test with a broken hand.Vice-captain Mark Boucher is expected to lead the team through the rest of the match, although no decision has yet been made.

Smith was batting fluently on 30 when a rising Mitchell Johnson delivery hit the knuckle of his left hand’s little finger.

After being examined on the ground, Smith retired hurt and went for x-rays that showed the break in the fifth metacarpal. He returned with a plastic cast on his hand and will be out for the next six weeks.

Smith will bat only if South Africa need a handful of runs for victory, said spinner Paul Harris

“If we need 10 to win I’m pretty sure Graeme will go in there, but it all depends on the situation,” Harris said after South Africa were 125 for one at stumps on the second day of the third Test in reply to Australia’s first innings 445.

“He’s (Smith) disappointed to be injured, but this is the kick he needed to take a little bit of rest.

Smith have already been ruled out of the One-day series with a tennis elbow for which has has been taking pain killers. He will meet with the team’s medical specialists in Pretoria next week to plan his recovery from both injuries.

Smith now faces a fight to be fit for the return series against Australia beginning in Feb.

“The big guy has been playing for a long time in a lot of pain. I don’t think people realise how hard it is to play in the pain he is in. A lot of other guys would have packed in a long time ago,” Harris said.

South Africa have already pocketed the series 2-0 but a win here would put them at the top of Test rankings replacing Australia.

Smith’s absence notwithstanding, Harris sounded confident that the team will give their best.

“We’re pretty confident that we can post close to their score, maybe a touch more,” he said.

“We play every Test to win, it’s the South African way.”

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