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Boucher blow overshadows SA draw

AFP
Jul 10, 2012 at 11:53pm IST

London: Mark Boucher's retirement overshadowed half-centuries from Hashim Amla and JP Duminy as South Africa warmed up for next week's first Test against England in a drawn tour match at Somerset on Tuesday.

While Amla and Duminy looked in good form, it was Boucher's decision to retire from international action, revealed by South African captain Graeme Smith during the second and final day at Taunton that took the spotlight.

The long-serving South African wicketkeeper was forced to hang up his gloves after being hit in the eye by a bail during the first day's play. Boucher, who had already planned to quit at the end of the England tour, needed three hours of surgery on his eye and opted to bring forward his retirement plans as he contemplates a lengthy rehabilitation.

Boucher blow overshadows South Africa draw

Half-centuries by Amla and Duminy were overshadowed by Boucher's retirement in the drawn match against Somerset.

"It is with sadness, and in some pain, that I make this announcement," Boucher said in a statement.

"Due to the severity of my eye injury, I will not be able to play international cricket again. I had prepared for this UK tour as well, if not better than I have prepared for any tour in my career.

"For now, I'd like to thank a huge number of people for their heartfelt support for the last 24 hours. I now head onto a road of uncertain recovery."

Team manager Mohammad Moosajee said: "They are hoping that with time and when the swelling and inflammation settles we will get a clearer picture. But at the minute the prognosis is unclear.

"We need to remain as positive as we can - but we will only know in a few weeks' time."

While Boucher's absence will be a blow to South Africa's hopes of defeating the world's top-ranked Test team, Smith's side are made of stern stuff and they got in some useful batting practice against Somerset. They reached 282 for 9 in the first innings, with Amla making 64, Duminy 53 and Morne Morkel 38, while Robin Petersen finished on 33 not out.

Somerset had added 50 for 1 to their first innings score of 312 for 8 declared by the end as the game. After the start of day two had been delayed an hour by rain, Jacques Kallis, affected by the traumas of close friend Boucher, retired not out on his overnight score of 45.

From 96 for 2 at the start, the tourists progressed sedately to 134 before AB de Villers, who had replaced Kallis, was bowled off a thin inside edge by medium-pacer Peter Trego for 23.

Amla dropped anchor and reached a solid half-century off 105 balls, with five fours. Duminy briefly livened up proceedings, smashing a big six over mid-wicket off 21-year-old left-arm spinner Jack Leach.

Amla had made 64 when bowled by Leach, while Duminy hit four fours and three sixes in facing 100 balls. With Kallis electing not to continue his innings, the South Africans declared when Imran Tahir fell leg before for a duck.

Mark Boucher's retirement overshadowed half-centuries from Hashim Amla and JP Duminy as South Africa warmed up for next week's first Test against England in a drawn tour match at Somerset on Tuesday.

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