Graeme Smith retires from international cricket
The cricket world was rocked last night when Graeme Smith announced his retirement from the international game.
The timing of Smith's announcement - which came at 10:22 last night, day three of the third test against Australia at Newlands - is sure to attract withering criticism.
Not only will it appear that Smith has deserted his team in the middle of a test, he will be seen to have done so in the throes of a match against their most vaunted opponents, and in a test and a series that they would appear to be losing.
"This has been the most difficult decision I have ever had to make in my life," Smith was quoted as saying in a Cricket SA statement.
"It's a decision that I have been considering since my ankle surgery in April last year.
''I have a young family to consider, and I felt that retiring at Newlands would be the best way to end it because I have called this place home since I was 18 years old."
Smith, the longest-serving captain in world cricket, has led South Africa since 2003.
He relinquished the T20 leadership in August 2010 and the one-day captaincy after the 2011 World Cup.