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Smith out of third test against Australia

Written by: Staff
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JOHANNESBURG, Mar 30 (Reuters) South African captain Graeme Smith withdrew from the third and final test against Australia tomorrow after suffering a blow to the hand in fielding practice today.

Smith was practising his slip catching when he was struck on the tip of his ring finger on the left hand, the same finger that was injured in India last November. That injury limited his role in the opening weeks of the tour to Australia.

''He has been withdrawn due to a soft tissue injury,'' South African media manager Gerald de Kock said today.

''He went to see a hand specialist and had a scan. Although there was a bone chip floating around, there is no fracture, but there is severe bruising and some tendon damage. Graeme was in a lot of pain,'' De Kock said.

Boeta Dippenaar will replace Smith in the team. Arthur said Herschelle Gibbs would continue to bat in the top three, although it is unclear whether he would open in Smith's absence.

South African coach Mickey Arthur said Jacques Kallis would take over the captaincy for the final test. Australia won the first two tests in Cape Town and Durban.

''Jacques is the official vice-captain. He's a quiet guy but it might bring out the best in him. He gets in a bubble during tests and sits on his own, so it will be a challenge for him,'' Arthur said.

REUTERS DH RAI2112

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