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Smith still doubtful to lead South Africa

The SA captain will bat in the nets on Thursday to determine whether he's fit to play against New Zealand in the first Test starting on Saturday.

india Updated: Apr 12, 2006 08:33 IST

South Africa captain Graeme Smith will bat in the nets on Thursday to determine whether he's fit to play against New Zealand in the first Test starting on Saturday at Centurion.

Smith injured the ring finger of his left hand in fielding practice before the third Test against Australia two weeks ago, and missed that Test. Jacques Kallis took over the captaincy.

Team physiotherapist Shane Jabbar said on Tuesday that Smith's chances of playing "remain at 50-50."

"Graeme consulted a hand specialist yesterday, and we are trying to improve functuality to his finger that has been in a splint since the injury," Jabbar told the South African Press Association.

"He will bat in the nets on Thursday, and then we will have a better idea of his fitness to play in the first Test."

If Smith cannot play, Kallis will continue as skipper.

South Africa retained the same 16-man squad for the three-Test series with New Zealand as that which lost all three Tests to Australia.

First Published: Apr 12, 2006 08:33 IST