16 Aug 2012

South Africa denies leaking Pietersen texts

8:46 am on 16 August 2012

South Africa captain Graeme Smith has denied suggestions his side deliberately leaked text messages from Kevin Pietersen.

England will go into Thursday's third Test at Lord's without their star batsman after South Africa-born Pietersen was dropped, despite scoring 149 in the drawn second Test in Leeds, for failing to reveal the contents of those text messages, some of which were said to contain criticisms of England captain Andrew Strauss.

Pietersen has apologised for the "provocative" texts, but it was too late to win back his place in the team for a match where the tourists only need to avoid defeat to replace England as the world's number one Test side.

Smith, who has had plenty of run-ins with Pietersen in the past, insisted his team had not initiated the row, although the awkward question of how the texts got into the public arena remains.

South Africa's management have described the texts as "banter" and Smith was at a loss to understand how the issue had escalated to the stage of England dropping Pietersen.

On Thursday Smith is set to break Australia great Allan Border's record of 93 Tests as captain by leading the Proteas for the 94th time.