Starc confident captain Smith will face Proteas


Australia captain Steve Smith is set to play in Sunday's one-day international tri-series encounter against South Africa, despite carrying a thigh injury.

Smith suffered the setback during Monday's four-wicket loss to West Indies, with the batsman a notable absentee from Australia's past two training sessions in Barbados.

The 27-year-old made 74 runs in the defeat in St Kitts, but team-mate Mitchell Starc is confident Smith will face the Proteas at Kensington Oval.

"I know it's all precautionary and he'll be ready to go for Sunday's clash," said Starc.

"I'm sure he's raring to go and to hit a few cricket balls."

Australia are second to South Africa in the tri-series table, one point behind the leaders and one ahead of hosts West Indies.

The trio have all won two of their opening four games.

A victory would go a long way to securing Australia's spot in the final, while a defeat would leave them needing to beat the Windies to keep their fate in their own hands.

In the two meetings between South Africa and Australia in the Caribbean, the teams have a win apiece.

Australia lost the opener by 47 runs, only to bounce back and triumph by 36 four days later.

Since then, record-breaking spinner Imran Tahir has risen to new heights.

Tahir tore through West Indies on Wednesday, claiming figures of 7-45 as South Africa eased to a 139-run triumph in Basseterre.

Those figures were the best return of any South Africa bowler in ODIs, Tahir becoming the nation's quickest to 100 wickets in the process.

"I had the freedom to bowl whatever I wanted to because the boys put a decent total on the board, especially on a track like this," he said after the Proteas posted 343-4.

"They put us in a position where the bowlers could do whatever they want to do and try to attack and that's what we did and things went well for us."