Australia in SA
Kallis out for first ODI
Jacques Kallis (Gallo Images)
Durban - South Africa's premier all-rounder, Jacques Kallis, will miss the first MTN one-day international (ODI) against Australia at Kingsmead on Friday.
Although Kallis has made a good recovery from a groin strain sustained during the third Test against Australia at Newlands last month, Proteas captain Graeme Smith said it had been decided to rest him for the first ODI to give him time to recover completely. Kallis will probably play in the second match in Centurion on Sunday.
Others who will miss out on Friday's match are newcomers Roelof van der Merwe, Vaughn van Jaarsveld and Wayne Parnell.
Smith, who missed the ODI series in Australia, as well as the third Test in Cape Town and the two Twenty20 matches last weekend, said he was excited to be back.
"Before I was injured, my one-day record was right up there, I was having a good go at it," he said. "I felt really in control of my game. Every chance you get to play for your country is a special one, so it's nice to be back playing for South Africa. We've played well and the guys are excited."
He said he was not too concerned about facing Australian opening bowler Mitchell Johnson, who broke the little finger on his left hand in Australia, and the little finger on his right hand in the second Test in Durban last month.
"As an opening batter, that's the kind of thing you learn to deal with throughout your career," he said. "I've all around the world, and faced the quickest bowlers. Mentally, it's just about preparing the same way for me. I don't walk out thinking that way - I walk out thinking how I can be successful.
"Mitchell has been bowling very well of late, and has become one of the top bowlers in the world. It's always a challenge when you face a really good bowler, and it's something you look forward to as an opening bat. We've had a really good battle over the last period of time, and I've had a little success and he's had a little success against me, so we'll see what happens."
Smith said he wanted to get the series off to a good start. "If we can put our peg in the ground early, and hopefully get a few good wins up front and make it a long loss period for Australia, that would be ideal for us.
"We've prepared well, we've covered all our bases. We've had a good week of training since the Twenty20s, and the guys are ready to go now. Hopefully we can put all that preparation and positive attitude into a good performance tomorrow."
He dismissed suggestions that the arrival in South Africa of Indian Premier League (IPL) teams in preparation for the IPL tournament, which begins on April 18, would be a distraction to members of the South African squad who had IPL contracts.
"Our focus is on South Africa for the next two weeks," he insisted. "This is our priority and playing for South Africa is the highlight of our careers. We want to make sure we finish this period against Australia on a high note. We want to give ourselves the chance to do well, and then after that, we can look at the IPL.
"But ultimately, South Africa comes first."
South Africa - Graeme Smith (capt), Herschelle Gibbs, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Albie Morkel, Mark Boucher, Johan Botha, Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn, Makhaya Ntini.
Australia - Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Clarke, Nathan Bracken, Callum Ferguson, Brett Geeves, Brad Haddin, Nathan Hauritz, James Hopes, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Ben Laughlin, Marcus North, Cameron White