Smith passes fitness test

Calcutta - South Africa captain Graeme Smith has passed a fitness test despite breaking a finger and will play in the second Test match against India starting on Sunday.

Smith sustained the injury during catching practice on Friday. While the initial diagnosis was of ligament damage, he confirmed on Saturday there was a fracture near a joint in his left little finger and said he would make a decision on whether he could play in the Test after a practice session.

South Africa's media spokesman Michael Owen Smith later told The Associated Press: "Graeme took part in the nets and did batting practice for a considerable time. He did not find any problem while practicing in the nets and was found to be fit. Graeme will be playing tomorrow."

South Africa won the series opener by an innings and six runs, and needs only a draw in the second and final Test to move above India and into the No.1 spot in the Test rankings.

However. India will be strengthened by the return of some players from injury.

V.V.S. Laxman, who was a late withdrawal from the series opener, will be back, while pace bowler Shantakumaran Sreesanth was included in the 15-man squad named Saturday, along with Dinesh Karthik and Suresh Raina.

Those making way from the first Test's 15-man squad were wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha and the pace duo of Sudip Tyagi and Abhimanyu Mithun.

South Africa thought the wicket at Eden Gardens would suit the Indian spinners while negating its own pacemen led by Dale Steyn, but ground curator Prabir Mukherjee said the "wicket will be sporting one and would last for five days."

Mukherjee denied that he received any official instruction to make the pitch a turning one to help India's chances of victory.

Jagmohan Dalmiya, president of Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) which oversees Calcutta matches, said "even if any instructions do come it is not possible to change the nature of the pitch overnight."

India is well aware of the stakes in the second Test.

"We have got no choice but to go for a win," India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said.

"Whatever be the condition here we will giving it our best shot. No matter how disappointing the loss at Nagpur was, it is time now to move ahead."


India :
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Murali Vijay, Sachin Tendulkar, V.V.S. Laxman, Subramanium Badrinath, Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra, Zaheer Khan, Shantakumaran Sreesanth, Ishant Sharma, Pragyan Ozha, Dinesh Karthik and Suresh Raina.

South Africa:
Graeme Smith (captain), Hashim Amla, Ashwell Prince, A.B. de Villiers, Jacques Kallis, Jean-Paul Duminy, Alviro Petersen, Mark Boucher, Paul Harris, Johan Botha, Ryan McLaren, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Dale Steyn and Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

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