2 Jan 2009

Graeme Smith to miss one-dayers

5:56 am on 2 January 2009

The South African cricket captain Graeme Smith will skip the one-day series in Australia in a bid to recover from an elbow injury in time for next month's return Test series at home.

But first the opening batsman wants to land one more killer blow on Australia, as a reminder of all the pain they caused him three years ago.

Smith came to Australia as a feisty, 24-year-old skipper in 2005-06. Not only was his side beaten 2-0, but he personally took a hammering from the Aussies on the field and in the media.

Returning as a mature 27-year-old whose batting and leadership skills have been crucial to his side's success, Smith has the chance to snatch the top ranking from Australia if the Proteas can secure a 3-nil sweep of Australia in the third Test.

Coach Micky Arthur says Smith has batted in enormous pain in Perth and Melbourne, scoring 48, 108, 62 and 75 to lead his side to an unbeatable 2-0 series lead.

Smith will have a blood injection from his arm into his elbow tendon in a bid to use the body's natural growth hormones to repair the injury... Arthur says it's the "last roll of the dice" to avoid mid-year surgery.

South Africa are trying to squeeze Ashwell Prince back into their middle order, but the vice-captain is struggling to prove he has recovered from a thumb injury which has kept him out of the first two Tests.

Debutant replacement Jean-Paul Duminy has scored an unbeaten 50 and 166 but is set to be dumped if Prince is passed fit, although Prince didn't bat for long in the nets yesterday.

Spinner Johan Botha will captain South Africa's one-day side in the five-match series starting in Melbourne on January 16th.