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Smith set to rejoin Proteas party

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South Africa were set to welcome their captain, and new father, Graeme Smith back on tour today.

Smith did not arrive in time for practice this morning, before the second Investec Test at Headingley later this week, but was due to fly into Leeds-Bradford airport this afternoon.

The opening batsman returned home to Cape Town a week ago, following his team’s innings victory over England at the Kia Oval, to attend the birth of his first child.

His wife Morgan duly gave birth to daughter Cadence, and 31-year-old Smith set off on the return journey to the northern hemisphere six days later as his team bid for back-to-back Test series wins in England.

Graeme Smith

Graeme Smith, who hit 131 in South Africa's innings-and-12-run first-Test win at the Kia Oval, was set to rejoin his tour squad today

AB de Villiers led the tourists in Smith’s absence in a two-day draw at Worcester. But the captain will be in charge again for the start of the second Test of three, beginning on Thursday, and his team are delighted about his return.

Middle-order batsman JP Duminy made that clear when he spoke after today’s net session.

“He’s added an extra member to his family, and we’re all happy for him,” he said.

“It’s always good to have him back, the leader of our team. We’re looking forward to having him here again.”

Duminy also reflected on the landslide nature of South Africa’s win in London, where they piled up a mammoth 637 for two declared and took all 20 England wickets for 625.

Number seven Duminy never even came close to taking guard as Hashim Amla made a historic triple-century, and Smith and Jacques Kallis hit big hundreds too.

“To be honest, I didn’t have my pads on; I didn’t even have my whites on,” said Duminy. “That’s the first time for me that’s ever happened.”

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