sport

Smith announces retirement

South Africa captain Graeme Smith has announced he will be retiring from international cricket following the third Test against Australia.

The 33-year-old opener has played 347 matches for his country since making his debut in 2002 and scored 37 centuries, 27 in Tests and 10 in one-day-internationals.

Smith said: "This has been the most difficult decision I have ever had to make in my life. It's a decision that I have been considering since my ankle surgery in April last year.

"I have a young family to consider, and I felt that retiring at Newlands would be the best way to end it because I have called this place home since I was 18 years-old."

Smith told his team-mates of his decision following the close of the third day's play of the third and final Test against Australia in Cape Town, where South Africa are facing an uphill battle to avoid a series defeat.

With the series level at 1-1, Australia bowled the Proteas out for 287 - Smith dismissed for five - having declared their first innings on 494 for seven, and the tourists then progressed to 27 without loss in their second knock for a lead of 234.

A series loss would be a rare setback for Smith's South Africa in recent years, with the team at the top of the ICC Test rankings. They are also third in the T20 International rankings and fourth in ODIs.

The match is Smith's 117th Test appearance, and he came into the clash having scored 9,257 Test runs at an average of 48.72.

He has also played 197 ODIs, averaging almost 38, and 33 T20 Internationals.

Smith added: "I have always been someone who has left everything out there on the field for my team and for my country.

"I'm extremely honoured and proud to have had the privilege to lead so many wonderful players and to have been a part of building the Proteas culture to what it is today. It is a culture that every player can be, and is, immensely proud of."