Australia v South Africa, 3rd Test, Sydney January 2, 2009

Smith to play through the pain

Graeme Smith's elbow injury is so painful that he sometimes struggles to brush his teeth © AFP

Graeme Smith will fight through the pain of a debilitating elbow injury for one more match in the hope he can take South Africa to a 3-0 victory over Australia - and be fit for the return series next month. Smith knows he should be having surgery but wants to be available for both engagements and will miss the one-day campaign in the hope he can recover.

"It's something I'd like to get rid of," Smith said at the SCG. "It's probably reached the point of surgery, but the length of time out of the game after having surgery was probably eight to 12 weeks, which doesn't give me much time do that now."

Smith has chosen a technique where he will have his own blood injected in the tear in his right elbow twice over the next six weeks. "It's not a gamble," he said. "It's pretty simple.

"This is the last port of call before surgery and hopefully it works. If it doesn't, I'll go as far as I can and do what I have to do."

The problem has been hampering Smith since the Indian Premier League and is so painful he sometimes struggles to brush his teeth, but "they're clean at the moment". "It's getting worse and worse the more you use it and the more you play," he said. "I just feel that I can hopefully push it out for one more game.

"It's been such a terrific year, last year, and I would like to finish the series on a high with the boys. Then I'll do whatever I can to make sure I'm strong and ready for the home series."

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo