Graeme Smith aims to deliver in last stand

SOUTH African skipper Graeme Smith was set for one last innings - and attempt to help save his side from defeat - overnight after announcing his retirement from international cricket.

Smith, 33, will quit the game after the final Test with Australia at Newlands in Cape Town, which is due to finish tomorrow.

His decision came after being dismissed for another low score - five - as South Africa was bowled out for 287 in its first innings in reply to the visitors' 7dec 494 on day three.

Graeme Smith. Aap Images


"This has been the most difficult decision I have ever had to make in my life," Smith said. "It's a decision that I have been considering since my ankle surgery in April last year. I have a young family to consider, and I felt that retiring at Newlands would be the best way to end it because I have called this place home since I was 18 years old."

Over an 11-year period, Smith captained his country to a record number of Tests, (109) and record number of wins (53) - beating the previous marks once held respectively by Australian greats Allan Border (93) and Ricky Ponting (48).

Smith also sits second to recently retired all-rounder Jacques Kallis on the list of South African runscorers, while only India's Sunil Gavaskar has scored more runs as an opener in Tests.

Cricket South Africa chief executive Haroon Lorgat said: "He has been a mighty warrior, a leader of men and an exceptional part of our international cricket."