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Symonds recalled from injury

By Greg Buckle 10/03/2006 05:58:25 AM Comments (0)

Australia's bid to come back from 2-0 down to win the one-day series against South Africa received a massive boost with Andrew Symonds recalled from injury.

The genuine matchwinner has been sorely missed in the opening three matches of the five-game series after straining a hip flexor muscle during a sprint session in the first week of the tour.

Trailing 2-1, Australia has dumped Shane Watson for Friday's fourth one-dayer which starts at 11.30pm AEDT.

Victorian paceman Mick Lewis has been given another chance at the expense of West Australian spinner Brad Hogg, despite local newspaper speculation the normally seam-friendly Durban pitch may take spin.

However, the Australians do have Michael Clarke and Symonds to bowl finger-spin if required, to support the four-man pace attack of Lewis, Brett Lee, Nathan Bracken and Stuart Clark.

With Symonds back to full fitness and Ricky Ponting also recovered from a stomach injury, the world champions are confident of snatching victory in the one-day series leading into the first Test in Cape Town on March 16.

"He (Symonds) is a very important member of our team with what he does with the bat and the ball and also his fielding work," Ponting said.

Ponting's return for game three in Port Elizabeth last Sunday was the catalyst for his team's first win of the tour, beating the Proteas by 24 runs to keep the series alive with the skipper top-scoring on 62.

"The team prides itself on winning big games, yeah," Ponting said.

"We knew that the last game in PE was exactly that. It was a must-win game for us, as the last two are as well."

South African captain Graeme Smith said a victory for the Proteas on Friday was not vital for his side.

"The first two games are the ones that really mattered. The team was under pressure, we had taken a lot of criticism into the first game," said Smith, in reference to his side failing to qualify for last month's tri-series finals in Australia.

"We're not putting ourselves under pressure demanding a result tomorrow night."

Asked if talking up the team's victories in the first two games meant they were "chokers" and making excuses in case they didn't win the series, Smith was momentarily stunned.

"Are you being serious? I don't need to respond to that because it's rubbish," he said.

Smith said the return of Jacques Kallis from an elbow injury may be delayed until Sunday's fifth game in Johannesburg, while paceman Andre Nel may also be rested on Friday because of a foot complaint.

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