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SA confident of squaring series

Rawalpindi: South African captain Graeme Smith said his side is confident about squaring the one-day series against Pakistan in Friday’s fourth game in the five-match series.

“Our practice on Monday probably was the first day where I have seen South Africa play like a team... and it has now adjusted to heat and the energy in the squad was back,” he said Thursday. Smith added his team played with a lot more energy in Tuesday’s game in Faisalabad, when they narrowly averted a series defeat with a 13-run victory aided by the Duckworth-Lewis formula.

The tourists go into Friday’s match in Rawalpindi down 1-2, with the final match in the series on Sunday also to be played in the commercial city. “If we do improve we will be a difficult side to beat,” Smith said.

The tourists lost the first two matches — both in Lahore — by eight and 42 runs respectively.

“We are trying to concentrate on our cricket and there are other people to deal with security, we have seen some parts of Lahore and some of the guys went shopping today but the main focus is on cricket,” he said. Smith played down the on-field behaviour of opening bowler Shaun Pollock, who was fined by match referee Clive Lloyd after the third match for dissent.

“It’s not a concern, I think both teams need to be more mature about the things on the field because every little thing is taken too harsh,” he said. “Since you are playing for your country, pride and passion are involved and moments do get heated.”

Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq will be is still nursing an injury and coach Javed Miandad feels he has a 50-50 chance of playing.

However, pace bowler Mohammed Sami, who missed the third match due to a side strain, has regained full fitness and will play.

Trio charged

Smith and allrounder Andrew Hall, and Yousuf Youhana have been charged by the ICC following incidents in the last game.

The trio will face Lloyd after ICC reviewed footage taken from the second one-dayer in Lahore last Sunday.

Smith was charged with using obscene or offensive language, while Hall faces two charges of using inappropriate and deliberate physical contact and bringing the game into disrepute.

Youhana has been charged with bringing the game into disrepute.

Smith and Hall could be fined or suspended if found guilty. Hall faces the stiffest punishment under ICC Code of Conduct, a suspension of between two to four Tests or four to eight one-day Internationals.

Youhana could receive an official reprimand or be fined up to 50 per cent of his match fee.

The hearing will be conducted by Lloyd at a time and venue to be confirmed.

Meanwhile, Miandad said y he wanted a greater role in team selection, which has become a contentious issue in recent weeks.

“The cricket I have played, the experience I have of 20-25 years of cricket, I think more use should be made of it,” Miandad said.

The PCB has given the selection committee complete power to pick the squad and the captain authority to finalise the final XI.

(AFP)

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