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Wednesday, Apr 01st

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Graeme Smith produced one of the monumental recoveries from a long-term injury in the history of the game to consolidate the South African commanding position on day two of the second Test match against Pakistan at Dubai on Thursday. By the close of play he had batted for the best part of 10 hours to record the fifth double century of his international career and establish a new record fifth wicket partnership for his country – an unbroken 326 with AB de Villiers.

The previous record was 267 between Jacques Kallis and Ashwell Prince against the West Indies in 2005 while the previous best against Pakistan was 213 by Prince and Herschelle Gibbs in 2007.

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South Africa swept all three sessions on day 1 to take complete control of the 2nd Test match against Pakistan at Dubai on Wednesday. The Proteas, needing to win this match to square the series, were given a boost before the start of play when Dale Steyn was declared fit to play and, although Pakistan won what looked like a good toss, the fast bowler set the pattern for the rest of the day when he dismissed Pakistan’s batting hero from the first Test, Khurram Manzoor, with the second ball of the match.

For the rest of the day there was little holding the Proteas back as they dismissed Pakistan for 99 inside 37 overs and then replied with 128/3 by the close with their captain, Graeme Smith, showing a welcome sign of form (67 not out off 138 balls, 4 fours).

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The Highveld Lions lost their second successive match at the Champions League T20 on Friday evening to leave their chances of progressing to the semi-final round out of their hands. The Mumbai Indians beat them by seven wickets which means that they only have two points after three matches. Their final group match is against New Zealand’s Otago Volts on Sunday and, even if they win that, they may still not finish in the top two.

They can no longer catch the log-leading Rajasthan Royals while both the Mumbai Indians and the Otago Volts are currently four points ahead of them.

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Arsenal might be looking a stronger rejuvenated side following the acquisition of Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid but former forward Alan Smith has other views. According to reports, the Englishman feels that the Gunners still need to redress major issues within the team.

Smith was quoted telling the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast show: "The signing of Mesut Ozil has lifted everyone at the football club. It’s lifted the fans and taken a bit of the heat off Arsene Wenger. They do need more than that though and it doesn’t solve all their problems though."

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Australia had piled on an impressive 492-9 declared in the first innings of the fifth and final Test match of the series at the Oval thanks to an unbeaten maiden Test century from young Steve Smith. When Michael Clarke made the declaration, Smith was 138 not out from 241 balls, including 16 fours and two sixes, one of which he smashed back over Jonathon Trott’s head to bring up his century in dramatic fashion.

Early rain washed out the entire first session but when play eventually got underway at 2:30pm local time Smith received good lower order support from Ryan Harris (33), Brad Haddin (30), Peter Siddle (23) and James Faulkner (23). All the bowlers scored at a good pace to ensure that Australia got their runs quickly and as a result had a go at the England top order today. 

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Shane Watson played the innings of a lifetime for Australia today, making a career best 176 from just 247 deliveries courtesy of 25 boundaries and 1 massive six to guide the visitors to a position of strength at 307-4 at the close of play on the opening day of the fifth and final Test match of the summer at The Oval.

Watson had a bit of luck go his way, dropped on 104 by Alastair Cook at slip off James Anderson, but was very much deserving of his runs, having come out in an attacking mindset and made the most of every opportunity that came his way. He had scored the bulk of Australia's runs though at that stage, and the Aussies would have been in a spot of bother at 151-4 had Cook held on to the regulation chance.

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Devon Smith is hoping to make the most of what he calls a “golden opportunity” during the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy 2013. The left-handed opener was away from the international stage for three years, but has been recalled following heavy scoring in the recently-concluded WICB Regional 4 Day and Regional Super 50 tournaments.

He was the leading batsman in both competitions with 700 runs at an average of 70 in the first-class championship. He was equally impressive in the 50-over format with 348 runs at 58 runs per innings.

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