Fri, Mar 24, 2006 - Page 22 News List

Shaun Pollock looks set to take on Australia at home

AFP , DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA

Shaun Pollock, South Africa's leading wicket-taker, was set to take his place in the South African team for the second Test against Australia at Kingsmead today after bowling without any injury worries in the nets on Wednesday.

"He's fit and he will be playing," team spokesman Gerald de Kock said.

Pollock missed the first Test in Cape Town last week, which Australia won by seven wickets inside three days, with a back strain.

Pollock has taken a record 385 wickets in 97 Tests for South Africa and his skill and experience was missed in Cape Town on a pitch which gave inordinate help to the seam bowlers.

Durban resident Pollock has yet to play in a Test against Australia in his home town -- and has only played in two home Tests over three series against the world champions. He broke down in the second Test of the 1996-1997 series and did not play in any of the matches in 2001-2002 because of injury.

The Kingsmead pitch is expected to offer pace and bounce, with batsmen likely to face a tough challenge on the first two days.

In recent years it has become easier for batting the longer a game goes on, but with overcast and humid weather expected it could offer something to the bowlers throughout.

After a batting failure in the first Test, with no home batsman reaching 50, South Africa will be seeking a major improvement to avoid surrendering the series with one match still to play -- a fate which has befallen them in the previous two home series against Australia. In the previous Test between the two sides in Durban, South Africa scored a record 340 in the fourth innings to win by five wickets in 2001-2002, although it was a "dead rubber" third Test of a series in which Australia won the first two matches.

Mohammad Rafique's fine all-round effort helped Bangladesh to a 20-run win against Kenya in the third one-day international yesterday.

Rafique scored a brisk 33 and then grabbed 5-47 as the home side clinched the series with a match still remaining.

Electing to bat first, Bangladesh scored 231, which proved enough to continue their winning streak after having already taken an unbeatable 2-0 lead. Kenya were bowled out for 211 in reply.

Opener Shahriar Nafees and middle-order batsman Alok Kapali slammed fine half-centuries to boost the home side.

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