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South Africa vs Zimbabwe: Cricket Enters New Era With 4-day Test

Cricket will venture into new territory when South Africa tackle Zimbabwe in the first official four-day test match to be played at St George's Park in Port Elizabeth starting on Tuesday.

Reuters |December 24, 2017, 9:30 AM IST
South Africa vs Zimbabwe: Cricket Enters New Era With 4-day Test

Cape Town: Cricket will venture into new territory when South Africa tackle Zimbabwe in the first official four-day test match to be played at St George's Park in Port Elizabeth starting on Tuesday.

It is an experiment, which will also be played with a pink ball as a day/night encounter, that has been met with more enthusiasm in Zimbabwe than their hosts, who will have a number of their experienced campaigners back in action.

Zimbabwe coach Heath Streak believes cutting a day from the game will force teams to score quicker, and that means taking more risks, which could play into the hands of so-called minnow nations.

"In terms of higher and lower ranked (teams), it is much harder to bat a team out (of the game) because in doing so you might make it harder to win the test," Streak said this week.

"It's a challenge, though the 98 overs in a day does make it a four-and-a-half day test. It will be interesting and exciting to be part of, hopefully it is something that does work out for the future of test cricket."

Zimbabwe warmed up for the fixture with a five-wicket loss to a South African Invitation XI in Paarl, a game that was played under lights.

There were half-centuries for Hamilton Masakadza, Ryan Burl and Chamu Chibhabha, but the rest of the batsmen struggled over the two innings against a largely inexperienced bowling attack.

Captain Graeme Cremer was the pick of the tourists' bowlers as his leg-spin provided eight wickets in the match.

Fast bowler Blessing Muzarabani and Burl, both uncapped at test level, could make their debuts.

AB IS BACK

South Africa have batsman AB de Villiers available for selection again after he ended his self-imposed exile from test cricket, while Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel have all recovered from injuries to bolster the seam attack.

Steyn played in the warm-up game in Paarl and although he bowled well within himself, the fast bowler created a number of chances off the bat in his wicketless 12 overs while conceding just 16 runs.

"He has been a champion bowler for a long time and along with James Anderson is probably the best of the modern generation in terms of wickets taken, games played and the way he has led the South African attack for a number of years," South Africa coach Ottis Gibson told reporters.

The match is the start of a busy summer for South Africa, who also play three home five-day tests against India and four versus Australia, to go with a number of matches in the shorter formats.

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 4027 115
2 New Zealand 2829 109
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3778 105
5 Australia 2640 98
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 India 8099 261
5 Australia 5471 261
see more