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Apr 24, 2009

Sachin turns 36 - has one dream left

Sachin TendulkarSachin turns 36 today. The master batsman has scaled every peak in the game - except for one. He has not yet been part of a One Day Internationl World Cup winning team. But come 2011, the master blaster is all set to change that, when the World Cup is detained on the subcontinent.

When asked at a latest function what his dreams were, he laughed off the question saying, "You only dream when you are asleep." But then he added, "I want to win the World Cup for India."

The captain of the IPL Mumbai Indians got a surprise from his team when he set up that they had organized a surprise birthday party at the team hotel.

Speaking to reporters, the always modest Sachin said, "It is the good wishes and blessings that count a lot. My family is joining me tomorrow, so am really looking forward to it."

The little master also said that he was still enjoying every moment of playing Cricket. "I would like to achieve the enjoyment factor. It is important to enjoy the game and only then will you come out with your best and that's what I want to do," he added.

Apr 23, 2009

Shahid Afridi's best helps Pakistan beat Australia

Shahid Afridi returned career-best bowling figures and then contributed with the bat to anchor Pakistan's four-wicket win over Australia in the first day-night international here on Wednesday.

The 29-year-old exposed Australia's frailties against spin with 6-38 to help Pakistan bundle their opponents out for a paltry 168 before hitting a whirlwind 24 to help the team chase down the target in 44.1 overs.

The victory, only Pakistan's second in their last 11 matches against Australia, gave them a 1-0 lead in the five-match one-day series.

Pakistan made heavy weather of the modest run-chase as they lost opener Salman Butt (five) and captain Younus Khan (11) before Kamran Akmal (48) and Misbah-ul-Haq with an unbeaten 30 avoided any further hiccups.

Akmal hit nine boundaries during his 62-ball knock, while Afridi notched five boundaries during his 16-ball stay but Australia made regular inroads, dismissing Shoaib Malik (24) and Nasir Jamshed (nine) to keep a check.

Afridi hit two boundaries off Stuart Clark and then took 16 off a Ben Hilfenhaus over before holing out at mid-on to the same bowler.

At 6-152, it looked either way, but Haq kept his cool as Gul (eight not out) hit the winning boundary.

Pakistan captain Younus praised Afridi for his brilliant bowling.

"It was fantastic team effort," said Younus. "The fast bowlers did well to check the openers and then Afridi and Saeed Ajmal bowled very well. We wobbled a bit when batting but its (all's) well that ends well."

Australia captain Michael Clarke blamed poor batting for the loss.

"No excuses, we batted poorly and all credit to their bowlers," said Clarke, standing in for regular captain Ricky Ponting in this series. "We were 70-80 short but it was a good effort to not let Pakistan win until 44 overs."

Earlier, Australia were well placed at 95-1 with opener Brad Haddin (40) and Shane Watson (40) before losing eight wickets for 27 runs as batsmen crumbled on the untested pitch at the new Dubai Stadium which Wednesday became the 172nd one-day venue.

Afridi's previous best one-day bowling of 5-11 came against Kenya at Birmingham in 2004.

James Hopes, who top-scored with 48 not out, added 46 for the last wicket -- a record against Pakistan in one-dayers -- with Hilfenhaus (four) to give some respectability to the total.

Haddin along with Shaun Marsh had given Australia a brisk 41-run start before Marsh, requiring a runner after pulling his hamstring while taking a quick single, was run out.

Shane Watson (40) helped Haddin add 54 for the second wicket but once the spinners came, wickets fell like nine pins as Afridi first had Haddin in his fourth over, caught off a miscued drive.

Haddin hit three fours and a six off 52 balls.

Watson looked dangerous during his 47-ball knock and hit two boundaries and a six off Afridi before the leg-spinner dismissed him and returning all-rounder Andrew Symonds in his sixth over.

In between Ajmal (2-19) had Clarke caught behind for four.

Afridi also dismissed Callum Ferguson (two), Nathan Bracken (one) and Clarke (two) as Australia were on the verge of being shot out for their lowest total of 120 before Hopes averted that with flurry of strokes.

Hopes hit five fours and a six during his 46-ball knock.

Apr 22, 2009

Australia bat against Pakistan in first one-day Match

Australian skipper Michael Clarke won the toss and elected to bat in the first one-day international against Pakistan at the Dubai Stadium here on Wednesday.

Clarke is standing in for regular skipper Ricky Ponting in the One day International series, which was moved to the United Arab Emirates after Australia refused to tour Pakistan owing to security fears.

All-rounders Andrew Symonds and Shane Watson, as well as pacer Stuart Clarke, returned for Australia after missing the last few months due to fitness problems and injury.

Pakistan selected for medium fast bowler Rao Iftikhar instead of slinging left-arm paceman Tanvir, and also included off-spinner Saeed Ajmal in their squad.

The only Twenty20 international will be played here on May 7.

Apr 21, 2009

Australia Vs Pakistan Schedule in UAE, 2009

DateTimeMatch DetailPlace

22 Apr10:30Pakistan v Australia, 1st ODIDubai (D/N)

24 Apr10:30Pakistan v Australia, 2nd ODIDubai (D/N)

27 Apr10:30Pakistan v Australia, 3rd ODIAbu Dhabi (D/N)

01 May10:30Pakistan v Australia, 4th ODIAbu Dhabi (D/N)

Sun 0310:30Pakistan v Australia, 5th ODIAbu Dhabi (D/N)

Thu 07
Pakistan v Australia, T20IDubai

Apr 18, 2009

Victorious Australia recover number two ranking

Micheal ClarkeAustralia recovered their world number two ranking with a happy 47-run win over South Africa in the 5th one-day international at the Wanderers Stadium.

Australia took lead of being given first use of an excellent batting pitch by South African skipper Smith, making 303/7 despite a mid-innings stumble.

Even with a second wicket stand of 104 b/w Gibbs and Jacques Kallis, South Africa fell steadily behind the asking rate and wickets fell at normal intervals after Gibbs was out for 82.

GibbsThe series win destined that South Africa keeps their world number one ranking. Australia for a moment slipped to third behind India after losing the fourth match in Port Elizabeth on Monday but come backed to the number two spot with their consolation win.

South Africa won the series 3-2 following a 4-1 series win in Australia earlier in the series.

The two teams shared the honors in two Test series, with South Africa winning 2-1 in Australia and the Australians overturn the result in South Africa.

Brad Haddin"It's a good way to finish," said Australian skipper Ricky Ponting.

"We were pretty dissatisfied with the way we played over the last few games so to bounce back today is a good thing for the group. It's been a really tough few months of cricket."

Smith said he was happy with the overall results.

"It's been a terrific summer for South African cricket," he said.

Apr 16, 2009

Lee could miss Pakistan ODI series

Brett LeeBrett Lee has not completely recovered from his ankle injury and could miss the upcoming ODI series against Pakistan in UAE. Left-arm fast bowler, Doug Bollinger has been added to the Australian squad as cover. Lee, currently in South Africa, will remain there to continue his recovery process.

"The National Selection Panel (NSP) has been advised by Cricket Australia medical staff that Brett Lee is not yet fit enough to resume international cricket," Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of selectors, said. "While it's disappointing for Brett to miss the start of the VB Pakistan series, the NSP wants to take

Lee suffered the injury during Australia's home series against South Africa and was hoping to make a return to the national side during the ongoing series against South Africa.

"Brett's ankle has recovered well from surgery in January this year," Alex Kountouris, the team physiotherapist, said. "However, the rehabilitation process is ongoing and, to date, Brett has not bowled sufficiently to allow him to be fit to resume playing cricket."

"I will be monitoring Brett's progress to assess his availability for any part of the VB series against Pakistan in the UAE."

Meanwhile, Hilditch was confident that Bollinger would repay the selector's faith in him. "Doug was probably a bit disappointed not to get a run during the Test series in South Africa, but this is an opportunity for him to impress at one-day level for Australia and I'm sure it's an opportunity he'll be keen to make the most of," Hilditch said.

Australia are scheduled to play 5 ODIs and a Twenty20 against Pakistan starting April 22.

Flower to oversee England's Ashes assault

Andy Flower was on Wednesday named as the new England team director by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

The 40-year-old former Zimbabwe and Essex batsman was unveiled as the man to lead England's bid to win The Ashes at a press conference at Lord's.

He was the overwhelming favourite to be given the job after stepping in as caretaker when Peter Moores was sacked in January.

Flower, who acted as Moores's assistant in 2007, takes over the top job in English cricket after overseeing the recent tour of the West Indies.

Crucially he had the support of players like England skipper Andrew Strauss and all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, who were impressed by his man-management in the Caribbean.

Under his management England were defeated in the Test series before securing a 3-2 victory in the one-day series.

His first fixture on a hectic summer schedule comes on May 6 and the start of the West Indies return tour, followed by the Twenty20 World Cup and The Ashes against Australia.

Speaking at Lord's, Flower conceded he had been reluctant to put his name forward before changing his mind in the Caribbean.

"When I went on that West Indian tour I didn't know whether I wanted to apply for this job or not," he told the press conference.

"Halfway through I had made up my mind that I did.

"I'm very honoured to be given the position. I believe the last three months will stand me in good stead.

"I was interim coach for that tour, now that I'm in charge, so to speak, things change, definitely."

Flower admitted there were difficult decisions ahead and asked about a possible return to the Test arena for former England captain Michael Vaughan, Flower said: "That is one of the topics that will be discussed."

Flower also backed former captain Kevin Pietersen, whose fall-out with Moores ended with Pietersen losing the captaincy and Moores leaving his post.

Flower added on Pietersen: "He's very important to English cricket. He's a very fine player. Kevin and I have always got on pretty well and that hasn't changed."

Hugh Morris, managing director of the England and Wales Cricket Board, revealed there had been 30 applicants for the role.

Morris said: "We had a great deal of interest. We were very happy with the level of candidates and the standard of candidates who applied for the job.

"We believe Andy has the potential to become a first-class coach."

Morris also revealed Flower's attributes which had helped him land the job.

He said: "Honesty, integrity. I think he has a clear vision of where he wants to take the England cricket team in years to come.

"He has got a strong reputation in the game.

"Andy did a terrific job in the West Indies. We see Andy as a person to take England forward. He is a young man who has impressed in the West Indies."

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Apr 15, 2009

Emotional Gibbs earns redemption as SAfrica wins

"Our batting is our strength so we backed our strength to chase runs," said Ponting. "We thought it (the pitch) would do a bit more than it probably did this morning but Herschelle played beautifully and AB played really well."

Haddin raced to a half-century off 41 balls as he and Clarke gave Australia an ideal start.

Haddin appeared to target Johan Botha, the off-spinner who has bowled economically in two series against Australia, hitting two sixes in Botha's first over, which cost 14 runs.

Botha was taken off and was hit for another six by Haddin when he returned four overs later. But in trying to hit another ball out of the ground he lofted a catch to long-on.

Van der Merwe took the next three wickets with his left-arm spin as the required rate climbed rapidly.

Ponting hit four boundaries off Steyn in the first over of a batting power play in the 41st over but hit the last ball to midwicket to be out for 53, effectively ending his team's hopes.

"At 130 for nothing I was feeling a bit nervous," admitted South African captain Graeme Smith.

"But our spinners did it again. The two-spinner option has worked well for us and it's nice to finish off with a series win for the country. It means a lot to us."

Herschelle Gibbs made an emotional return to form as he hit a century which set up a series win for South Africa in the fourth one-day international at St George's Park on Monday.

South Africa won by 61 runs to take a winning 3-1 lead in the five-match series. It was South Africa's third successive one-day series triumph against Australia and ensured they would retain their world number one ranking in one-day cricket.

Gibbs hit 110 as South Africa made 317 for six after being sent in to bat on a slow pitch.

Australia made a good start in reply, with Brad Haddin (78) and Michael Clarke (50) putting on 129 for the first wicket. But their innings lost momentum against the slow bowling of Roelof van der Merwe (three for 46) and Johan Botha (one for 48).

Fast bowler Dale Steyn took four for 44 to wreck the bottom half of the Australian innings as the tourists were bowled out for 256.

Gibbs and AB de Villiers (84) put on 136 off 123 balls for South Africa's third wicket in a partnership filled with sparkling strokes and audacious running between wickets.

When he reached his 21st one-day international century Gibbs acknowledged the crowd then sank to his haunches and appeared to wipe tears from his eyes.

It was the first major innings played by Gibbs, 35, since drink driving charges against him were withdrawn last month in return for agreeing to do 100 hours of community service.

Earlier in the season he spent time in rehabilitation for alcohol-related problems after his arrest last year. He made his runs off 116 balls with two sixes and nine fours.

"It's been a long time coming but I knew there was one coming, it's been boiling for the last few games," said Gibbs.

"It was just time for me to get through the first ten overs and take it from there."

Ponting's decision to send South Africa in to bat in a must-win game for Australia was influenced by a good record for teams batting second on the small Port Elizabeth ground, including a successful chase by Australia, who were set to make 327 in 2001/02.

Australia had won four out of five previous matches against South Africa at the ground.

Apr 10, 2009

Kallis, De Villiers steer South Africa to victory

South Africa had only scored 233 after 45 overs at the end of their power play but some powerful hitting by Albie Morkel and Mark Boucher enabled them to add 56 in the last five overs.

Smith ended a streak of seven successive losing tosses against opposite number Ricky Ponting. He had no hesitation in batting on a ground where the side batting second under lights has often struggled.

Fast bowler Mitchell Johnson was outstanding for Australia, taking four for 34 in his ten overs.

Usually it has been the seam bowlers have done the damage but this time it was the spinners who undid Australia.

Off-spinner Botha ended a promising innings of 20 by Ponting before left-armer Van der Merwe took the wickets of Michael Clarke and Mike Hussey in one over.

Van der Merwe, in his second one-day international, took three for 37.

Part-time off-spinner Duminy had David Hussey caught at long-on as Australia's hopes were effectively extinguished.

Ferguson, playing in only his seventh one-day international, made his third half-century and his second in successive matches. He scored his 63 off 68 balls before he was caught at wide mid-off to give Van der Merwe his third wicket.

Hopes equalled his career-highest score, making his unbeaten 63 off 60 balls.

A floodlight failure when Australia were on 194 for five after 43 overs delayed play by 22 minutes but South Africa were not to be denied.

Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers shared a century partnership to set up a comfortable 25-run win for South Africa in the third one-day international against Australia at Newlands on Thursday.

Kallis (70) and De Villiers (80) laid the foundation for a South African total of 289 for six, putting on 114 off 131 balls for the third wicket.

Australia made a reasonable start, reaching 66 for one before their innings stalled against the slow bowling of Johan Botha and Roelof van der Merwe.

They slumped to 114 for five and were effectively out of the game with less than 20 overs remaining.

But Callum Ferguson (63) and James Hopes (63 not out) gave their innings respectability with a sixth wicket stand of 97 before Australia finished with 264 for seven.

The win gave South Africa a 2-1 lead in the five-match series, which continues in Port Elizabeth on Monday.

Kallis was solid in making his 70 off 87 balls before a powerful pull off Brett Geeves picked out Hopes at midwicket.

De Villiers batted with flair but had some luck with three edged boundaries just wide of the wicketkeeper as he made his 80 off 87 balls before he fell to Johnson in the first over of the final power play.

Apr 8, 2009

Younus regrets Australia's selection

Pakistan captain Younus Khan Wednesday said he regretted that Australia had rested some of its best players from the squad to face his own in a limited-overs series later this month.

Younus said he was "not expecting much" from his own side in the forthcoming tournament, but that they would miss the valuable experience of playing against the likes of Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey and Mitchell Johnston.

Australia has rested skipper Ponting, star batsman Hussey and spearhead Johnston for the five one-day internationals and a Twenty20 match starting in the United Arab Emirates on April 22.

"When you play against the top players like Ponting, you learn different and good things," said Younus, who took over as captain in February this year.

"Ponting is a brilliant captain and when you play against such a leader you tend to learn. Hussey is a stubborn batsman and Johnston has developed into a world-class bowler whose every delivery is near 140 kmph, so we will miss them."

Despite resting the top trio, Australia have still named a formidable 14-man squad for the series, bringing in all-rounders Andrew Symonds and Shane Watson, and fast bowler Brett Lee.

Michael Clarke was named captain of the touring party, with wicketkeeper Brad Haddin replacing him as vice-captain.

Younus, 31, said playing against Australia would help his young side gain experience.

"It is a great opportunity for this young team. When you play against a top team like Australia there are a lot of opportunities to learn and I hope my team gain in experience," said Younus.

Younus singled out Australia's attitude as the best trait to follow.

"Australians have an attitude, which says everything about their cricket. That is, not to give up, aggression in all situations and I am sure my team will observe that.

"If my team play a little bit above their potential then I am sure we can achieve better results. I am not expecting much from this team but my main expectation is that they play with full throttle and potential."

Referring to paceman Shoaib Akhtar, who was included in the 15-man squad Monday after recovering from a knee injury, Younus said he would not put extra pressure on the bowler.

"My request to Akhtar is to play for the team, for himself and remain focused on the game. I will not put extra pressure of expectations on him but he will have to play with his full ability," said Younus.

Wisden name Sehwag international player of the year

LONDON (Reuters) - India opener Virender Sehwag was named as the international player of the year by the annual Wisden almanac.

Claire Taylor, England's leading run-scorer in her team's successful World Cup campaign this year, has become the first woman to be named as one of the five cricketers of the year.

The other four selected in the 146th edition of the almanac published on Thursday are England fast bowler James Anderson and South Africans Mark Boucher, Neil McKenzie and Dale Benkenstein.

Wicketkeeper Boucher and opening batsman McKenzie played prominent parts in South Africa's successful tour of England last year while left-arm spinner Benkenstein helped Durham to their first county championship.

Apr 4, 2009

Flintoff leads England to historic triumph

Andrew FlintoffAndrew Flintoff grabbed a hat-trick to lead England to a 26-run victory over West Indies on Friday and a first ever one-day international series triumph in the Caribbean.

Flintoff claimed his hat-trick when he removed Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul and Sulieman Benn off successive balls in the 27th over, before finishing with career-best figures of five wickets for 19 runs from five overs.

His spell swung the match decisively, as England bowled West Indies out for 146 in 28 overs in a match reduced to a 29-over-a-side clash after rain delayed the start of the fifth and final game at the Beausejour Stadium by four hours.

The result meant that England won the series 3-2.

"It has been a long hard tour and to come out at the end with something is pretty special," said England skipper Andrew Strauss, whose side lost the Test series.

"We would have liked to have won the Test series - we played some good cricket but kept coming out with nothing."

Strauss also paid tribute to Flintoff who has struggled with injury over the winter.

"Freddie has had a tough tour but he showed his quality today. That is why he is one of the best bowlers in the world because under pressure he can deliver," said the captain.

West Indies captain Chris Gayle said he was disappointed with the result especially after his side had thrown away the first match in Guyana when their coach John Dyson embarrassingly miscalculated the Duckworth-Lewis ruling.

"The Test series was very important to us. It means we have turned a bit of a corner but we still have a long way to go," said Gayle.

A late flourish from Paul Collingwood and Matt Prior helped England to reach 172 for five off their 29 overs.

Collingwood made 35 not out from 31 balls and Prior scored 25 not out from 25 balls to pull England out of a wobble with an unbroken stand of 60 from 49 balls for the sixth wicket.

England stumbled to 112 for five in the 21st over, following an 80-run stand between Kevin Pietersen and Ravi Bopara.

Pietersen hit the top score of a run-a-ball 48 and opener Bopara gathered 44 from 49 balls before they were two of four wickets that fell in the space of 33 balls.

Pietersen was out in controversial circumstances when Daren Sammy claimed a catch even though TV replays suggested the ball wasn't taken cleanly.

James Anderson then gave England a bright start, when Gayle edged his third ball to second slip and the West Indies captain was dismissed for a duck.

England continued to make the breakthroughs, and West Indies slumped to 69 for four in the 15th over with Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan, and Shivnarine Chanderpaul all back in the pavilion.

But England were held up by a stand of 55 from 59 balls between Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard.

Stuart Broad had Bravo caught at square cover in the 24th over for 33 off 46 balls which was the top score, and Anderson had Pollard caught inside the long-on boundary in the next over for 30 off 31 balls.

Ponting hails Aussie match-winner Hussey

Mike HusseyCaptain Ricky Ponting hailed the return to form of Mike Hussey as Australia gained a crushing 141-run win over South Africa in the first one-day international at Kingsmead Friday.

Hussey hit 83 not out as Australia piled up 286 for seven.

South Africa were bowled out for 145 in the opening encounter of a five-match series.

"It's been a difficult few months for him," Ponting said of Hussey, who scored only 132 runs at an average of 22 in a three-match Test series and was out for a duck in a Twenty20 international.

Ponting said Hussey's attitude had never wavered despite the worrying loss of form.

"You wouldn't know with him. He just continues to work hard, enjoy his cricket and enjoy the hard work. It was great to see him get those runs on the board again.

"When he went out to bat it was a really crucial moment in the game. For him to get 80-odd will hopefully give him confidence for the rest of the summer."

The left-handed Hussey's 79-ball innings enabled Australia to recover from two chaotic run-outs which cost the wickets of two of the team's top four batsmen.

South African captain Graeme Smith made an attacking 52 and put on 74 off 72 balls for the second wicket with Herschelle Gibbs (33).

But the South Africans lost their way against accurate bowling by medium-pacer James Hopes and off-spinner Nathan Hauritz.

Hopes took two for 24 and Hauritz four for 29 as South Africa were bowled out with 16.5 overs remaining.

"We just made an over-par score on that wicket," said Ponting. "It was going to be a competitive score but the guys bowled exceptionally well.

"Hauritz was terrific and Hopes was very, very good and Mitchell (Johnson) was good as well."

Johnson took two for 24, twice taking wickets in the first over of a spell.

"We just didn't play well enough," admitted Smith who was making his return to the team after having his hand broken by a Johnson delivery here in the second Test a month ago.

"Australia were better in all departments."

Australia's big win seemed a distant prospect when the tourists found themselves in trouble at 114 for four after Ponting won the toss and made first use of a good pitch.

David Hussey and Brad Haddin were run out in the space of nine balls, on both occasions after mix-ups which saw the dismissed player stranded at the wrong end of the pitch.

Wicketkeeper Haddin, who opened the batting, hit an aggressive 53 off 60 balls.

He and Ponting put on 77 off 81 balls for the second wicket. Then Haddin and David Hussey put on a quick 28 for the third wicket before first Hussey, then Haddin were run out.

But Mike Hussey showed his best form for the first time on the tour with an innings which included two sixes and six fours.

He put on 53 for the fifth wicket with Callum Ferguson (25) and 67 for the sixth wicket with Hopes, who made an impressive 38 off 35 overs. He and Hauritz (20 not out) finished the innings in style with an unbeaten 43 off 22 balls for the eighth wicket.

South Africa lost Hashim Amla in the fourth over of their innings but Smith and Gibbs threatened to take control before Gibbs sliced a back foot shot against Hopes to backward point.

AB de Villiers was unlucky to be given out leg before wicket and South Africa's innings disintegrated after Smith chipped back a return catch to Hauritz after making 52 off 56 balls.

Apr 3, 2009

Smith returns to face bone-breaker Johnson

South Africa captain Graeme Smith returns to action Friday on the ground, and against the same opponents, where he suffered a broken bone in his right hand the last time he played.

A day short of four weeks after being injured in the second Test against Australia, Smith will lead South Africa in the first one-day international at Kingsmead.

It is a clash of the two top-ranked teams in world one-day cricket. South Africa took top spot away from Australia when the two sides met in Australia in January.

South Africa won that series 4-1, with Johan Botha taking over the captaincy from Smith.

Smith said he was not worried about having to make his return against Mitchell Johnson, whose rising delivery off a lively pitch crushed the base of his right hand, above the little finger, in March.

It was the second time Johnson put Smith out of action. The left-arm fast bowler broke a bone in Smith's left hand during the third Test in Sydney early in January.

"As an opening batsman those are things that you learn to deal with throughout your career," said Smith.

"I have travelled pretty much all around the world and faced all the world's fastest quicks. Mentally it is just a case of preparing the right way."

Smith acknowledged that Johnson provided a tough challenge.

"Mitchell has been bowling really well. He is one of the best fast bowlers in the world at the moment and it will be a real challenge facing him," said the skipper.

"It is something I look forward to. We have had a really good battle over the last period of time. I have had a bit of success and he has had a bit of success, so we will see what happens."

South Africa will be without leading all-rounder Jacques Kallis, who is recovering from a groin injury. Kallis is expected to be fit for the second match in the five-game series at Centurion on Sunday.

Australian captain Ricky Ponting, meanwhile, said his team were determined to bounce back after losing the third Test and two Twenty20 internationals against South Africa, after winning the first two Test matches in South Africa.

Apr 2, 2009

Kallis cleared for ODIs

Jacques KallisSouth Africa will be boosted with the return of Jacques Kallis after the all-rounder was cleared of a groin strain. He is likely to play in the first ODI against Australia tomorrow.

Kallis captained the Proteas in the absence of injured skipper Graeme Smith in the Cape Town Test, but broke down with a groin injury while bowling on the last day of the third test.

"It was thought that he had a tear. But the scans showed he has no tear which is very good news, just some scar tissue," team spokesman Michael Owen-Smith said yesterday. "Jacques is a chance to play on Friday."

Meanwhile, captain Graeme Smith is also likely to return after a fractured finger kept him out of the third Test and the two T20s.

Mitchell Johnson, who caused Smith two separate injuries on both hands, is targetting the South African opener again. "I'm looking forward to the challenge again," Johnson said. "It's always good to get the opportunity to bowl with the new ball against an opening batsman like Smith. He's such a great player. He's a strong leader and his team look up to him. They will enjoy having him back in the squad and I'm looking forward to trying to get his wicket."