South African captain Graeme Smith has been declared fit to face England in the forthcoming test series, which begins at the Oval on 19th July.
There had been some doubt as to whether Smith, 31, would be fit to take part in the three test series after he underwent surgery on his left ankle in April, following his side’s successful tour to New Zealand, where they won the test series 1-0.
The news of Smith’s recovery will come as a disappointment to Andrew Strauss and his side, who recently wrapped up a 2-0 series over the West Indies. Smith has an exceptional record against England and has an impressive of average of 72 in England. Smith still holds the record for the highest innings by a visiting player in tests at Lord’s after scoring 259 in 2003.
Smith, who has played in 98 test matches, averages just under 50 in all tests and was the last visiting captain to win a test series in England, when South Africa beat England 2-1 in 2008. This was the Proteas first series victory in England since 1965.
The England side of 2012 is a different proposition to the sides of the past, so often punished by Smith. England are currently ranked as the number 1 test side in the world with South Africa just behind. This three test series promises to be explosive and, if Smith can find the form that he has previously shown in England, then South Africa will certainly fancy their chances.
Following on from the Lords test, the two sides will travel to Headingley (2nd-6th August) then conclude the series at Lord’s (16th- 20th August).
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