| The Oval Test will be Stewart’s swansong
London: South Africa captain Graeme Smith warned his team against complacency ahead of the fifth and final Test against England which gets underway at The Oval on Thursday.
The Proteas go into the match with a 2-1 lead and if they avoid defeat at The Oval they will become the first South African team to win a Test series in England since 1965.
But Smith, at 22 South Africa’s youngest-ever captain, said: “We’re not over the moon yet. There is tough Test cricket lying ahead for us but we will not give into pressure.”
Alec Stewart, England’s most capped cricketer, will retire from international cricket after making his 133rd Test appearance — that, too, at The Oval, his home ground.
But Smith is keen to deny the Surrey wicketkeeper-batsman a winning departure. “They want to give Stewart a big send-off. But having said that, our boys are hungry to develop a winning culture. We’ve got a chance to make history and do some great things.”
England skipper Michael Vaughan admitted the series had not gone to plan but admitted his inexperienced pace attack, which twice let the Proteas off the hook at Headingley, could bounce back.
“We set out to win the series but all we can look for now is a draw. There is no point in looking back, we’re 1-2 down and looking for a win.”
South Africa welcome back Shaun Pollock after their leading fast bowler missed the Headingley win to attend the birth of his first child.
Hussain’s toe injury has seen England recall middle-order batsman Graham Thorpe for his first Test in over a year following personal problems caused by his marriage break-up.
Uncapped Worcestershire off-spinner Gareth Batty was released on Wednesday from the squad.
His departure for Worcestershire’s County Championship second division game against Hampshire left England with a 12-man squad and just one specialist spin bowler in Warwickshire left-armer Ashley Giles.