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Smith confident he can play through pain in India test

cricket Updated: Feb 13, 2010 15:34 IST

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South Africa captain Graeme Smith is confident of leading his team in their quest for a first test series victory in India for nearly a decade on Sunday, despite a painful finger injury.

Smith suffered a small fracture to the little finger of his left hand at training on Friday, putting in doubt his participation in the second and final test of the series, which South Africa lead 1-0.

"I am pretty confident that I can deal with the pain and stuff and get through but until you have done it, it's hard to say," the left-handed opener told reporters before training on Saturday.

"There's a fracture in one joint of the small finger on the left hand side," he added.

"It really is about dealing with pain from that perspective.

"Today I will know if I can play a part in the game. I will try and train and see what I can get through and we will make a decision after training today."

The 29-year-old Smith, who played with hand injuries in tests against Australia last year, is a key batsman for his team with a impressive test record of almost 7,000 runs and 20 centuries.

South Africa are in a strong position to win their first test series in India since 2000 and reclaim the world number one ranking from their hosts following their victory by an innings and six runs in Nagpur.

Smith said he was excited at the prospect of winning a test series in India after almost achieving the rare feat on their last tour two years ago, when they won the second test before India squared the series in Kanpur.

"For most cricketers, it is a lifetime opportunity to win a series in India and that is something that like I said we want to tick off as a team and something that we are motivated to achieve and something we are excited about," Smith said.

India have only lost two tests series at home in the last decade, to South Africa in 2000 and Australia four years later.

The test defeat in Nagpur was their first at home in almost two years and ended a 14-match unbeaten streak.

India's batting suffered in the absence of experienced Rahul Dravid, Vangipurappu Laxman and Yuvraj Singh due to injuries, despite Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar scoring centuries.

Number three batsman Dravid (jaw) and Yuvraj (wrist) were ruled out of the entire series but Laxman's return from a finger injury is expected to bolster the middle order as India hope to square the series.

"We are against opponents who are really good, performing really well so it is tough," India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said.

"In the last test they beat us convincingly. It is a tough challenge for us and we are hoping to do well.

"VVS (Laxman) is an important part of our batting line-up so it is good to have him back in the side especially in the slot that he bats."