St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth is set to regain the Boxing Day Test, Graeme Smith revealed at the post-match presentation following his team’s victory over Australia.
Although not full for this Test, there was a livelier atmosphere – helped, in part, by the famous band – than Kingsmead in Durban has managed to produce when handed the Boxing Day encounter which was reinstated last year after being ditched in 2012 in favour of Twenty20 internationals.
Most recently that involved Jacques Kallis’ farewell to Test cricket, against India, but there were relatively small crowds across all five days despite the final appearance of one the game’s greats. Even when the gates were thrown open on the final day the crowd only reached 7000 at a venue that can hold 25,000. Across the first three days there was an average crowd of 9000, the best at Kingsmead in recent years, but still disappointing for a festive season Test.
If the switch back to Port Elizabeth is confirmed, it will be the ground’s first Boxing Day Test since 2007 when it hosted West Indies in a match that the visitors won. West Indies are scheduled to tour South Africa over the Christmas period later this year.