Zim, SA for 4-day Test

HARARE - Zimbabwe and South Africa have agreed to play a ground-breaking four-day Test match on Boxing Day at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth under floodlights.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) had been struggling to find an opponent for the Boxing Day Test after India’s schedule meant the Asians would only arrive in SA early next year.

However, CSA were left with no option but to find a replacement to fill that slot for the traditional Boxing Day Test.

But with the Proteas Test series against India now set to start on January 5, 2018 at Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town, it meant that preceding the once-off Test’s duration against Zimbabwe would have to be affected.

The pink-ball match between the Proteas and Zimbabwe will, however, have to get ICC ratification first as an official Test match because of its duration. Official Test matches are supposed to be held over five matches.

“We have now finalised the fixtures for a very busy home summer of international cricket,” CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat in a statement.

“The Mahatma Gandhi-Nelson Mandela Test series starts at Newlands on Friday, January 5 and will be a series to be watched as the number 1 and 2 best ranked teams in the world challenge for the Freedom Trophy.

“The time constraints faced by India have forced us to reduce the Test matches to three while increasing white ball cricket to six ODIs and three T20I matches.

“To take advantage of our brand-new lights at St George’s Park, we will host Zimbabwe in the first ever four-day D/N Test match to be played. The Test status of the match is subject to ICC approva.

“This will give us a total of 10 home Test matches this summer against Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, India and Australia, making this our busiest home test season ever.”

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