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Steve Smith has become the fourth Australia player and 11th player overall to win the prestigious Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy after being named as the ICC Cricketer of the Year 2015. Smith follows in the footsteps of Ricky Ponting (2006 and 2007), Mitchell Johnson (2009 and 2014) and Michael Clarke (2013) to lift the coveted trophy since the inception of the awards in 2004.

Other recipients of the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy include Rahul Dravid (2004), Andrew Flintoff and Jacques Kallis (joint-winners in 2005), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (2008), Sachin Tendulkar (2010), Jonathan Trott (2011) and Kumar Sangakkara (2012).

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The International Cricket Council (ICC) today thanked Graeme Smith for his contribution to international cricket and said he has been an inspiring sportsman.

“On behalf of the ICC, we congratulate Graeme Smith on his retirement following a very impressive and successful international career,” said ICC Chief Executive David Richardson, adding: “Graeme featured in a number of memorable matches for South Africa and led his country in a world record 109 Tests, as well as 150 One-Day Internationals. He will no doubt go down in cricket’s history as one of its most respected captains and opening batsmen.

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The South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA) today paid tribute to Graeme Smith on his retirement from international cricket.

“Graeme has been the leader of the players in South Africa for longer than most of us can remember” said SACA’s President, Robin Peterson.  “The cricket fans see what he does on the field as the captain of the Proteas, but there’s been a lot more to it than that.  He has played a huge role within our players association and he’s always stood up for the collective of the South African professional cricketers, which has made things better for all players.”

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Australia won back-to-back post-lunch sessions to take firm control of the opening day of the first Sunfoil Test match against South Africa at SuperSport Park on Wednesday.

Having lost the toss and been required to bat first, the visitors showed signs of their recent top-order frailties when they were reduced to 98/4 in the first half-hour of the afternoon session.

But the rot was swiftly stopped by Shaun Marsh and Steve Smith who shared an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 199 in 56 overs to take Australia to an imposing 297/4 by the close. 

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South Africa have beaten Pakistan by an innings and 92 runs in the second Test match which finished at Dubai on Saturday, thus clinching their 100th Test win.

"This is a day worth celebrating in South African cricket as it is a very relevant milestone," commented CSA Chief Executive, Haroon Lorgat. "If one considers that this is only our 207th game since the United Cricket Board of South Africa came into existence in 1991, it represents an impressive winning margin of close to 50 percent, and to maintain this over a 22-year period says a lot for the 81 players who have represented us in the pinnacle form of the game.

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South Africa took four of the 10 second innings wickets they needed to complete victory over Pakistan by stumps on day three of the second Test match at Dubai on Friday. At the close Pakistan had reached 132/4 and needed a massive target of a further 286 runs to make the Proteas bat again.

Nevertheless it was Pakistan’s best day of the series to date. They finally won a session when they took the last six Proteas first innings wickets for 57 runs in the morning session although it was slightly tarnished by the fact that they lost both their opening batsmen for just two runs to Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander off the 11 balls that were bowled before the delayed lunch interval.

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South Africa captain, Graeme Smith, is a relieved man after successfully making a return to International cricket after a serious ankle operation which has kept him out of action for almost six months. Smith batted for nearly 10 hours in trying hot conditions to score his fifth Test double century, and to give the Proteas firm control of the second Test against Pakistan at the Dubai International Stadium.

"My ankle held up extremely well which I'm grateful for," an exhausted Smith told the media. "I've put in a lot of hard work over the last period since I came off crutches, it was a big surgical process, so there were a lot of times where I wasn't sure how it would hold up and if it would handle. It’s all paid off today. There are a lot of people to thank for getting me to this point, even though I had to do all the work."

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