Boxing Day Tests in South Africa: History, traditions and results

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The Boxing Day Test is a traditional match that South African cricket has borrowed from its originators, Australia.

South Africa first competed in a official ‘Boxing Day Test’ on the 1952/53 tour of Australia, winning the match by 82 runs and all-told they have played six Test matches at the MCG starting on 26 December.

Since readmission into international cricket a Boxing Day Test has become a staple for South African fans.

Initially, the South African version of the traditional Boxing Day Test was held in Port Elizabeth before organisers settled on Durban with the rationale that the city would be full of holidaymakers from across the country.

In recent years the crowds at Kingsmead dwindled and matches at the venue were beset by problems with bad light and frequent weather delays. The traditional match was moved back to St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth in 2008, but the famous band and seaside locale weren’t enough to draw the crowds back in.

An experiment with replacing the Test match with a T20I was poorly received and took place just once.

The last two Boxing Day Tests have been held at SuperSport Park in Centurion and have been well-attended. The 2020 edition will, however, be played behind closed doors.

History prior to tradition

The first Test to start on 26 December in South Africa took place way back in 1913 when the hosts tackled England and lost by an innings and 12 runs in Johannesburg.

In the early days of Test cricket it was common for a match to be started on Christmas eve before play was suspended until either 26 or 27 December.

The tradition of South Africa hosting a Boxing Day Test would only really take root after the readmission of the national team into the Test arena in the early 1990s.

Boxing Day Tests in South Africa – Tradition established

Despite a handful of Test matches starting on 26 December, the first true South African Boxing Day Test should perhaps be marked as the 1992 match against India.

South Africa then travelled to Australia and took part in their Boxing Day Test in 1993 repeating this in 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2008. Since then series have been arranged between the two countries away from the December block, however the Proteas are scheduled to play the 2022 Boxing Day Test at the MCG.

In 2007 the Proteas suffered their first Boxing Day Test loss since readmission beginning a slump in the fixture that would see them fail to win until their 2013 triumph over India.

South Africa have won the last four Boxing Day Tests they have hosted beating Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Pakistan and England.

The Proteas face Sri Lanka in the 2020 Boxing Day Test which will be the third played at SuperSport Park.

Boxing Day Test results

Results since readmission

1992 – South Africa vs India at St George’s Park, PE – SA won by 9 wickets

1994 – South Africa vs New Zealand at Kingsmead, Durban – SA won by 8 wickets

1995 – South Africa vs England at St George’s Park, PE – Draw

1996 – South Africa vs India at Kingsmead, Durban – SA won by 328 runs

1998 – South Africa vs West Indies at Kingsmead, Durban – SA won by 9 wickets

1999 – South Africa vs England at Kingsmead, Durban – Draw

2000 – South Africa vs Sri Lanka at Kingsmead, Durban – Draw

2002 – South Africa vs Pakistan at Kingsmead, Durban – SA won by 10 wickets

2003 – South Africa vs West Indies at Kingsmead, Durban – SA won by an innings and 65 runs.

2004 – South Africa vs England at Kingsmead, Durban – Draw

2006 – South Africa vs India at Kingsmead, Durban – SA won by 174 runs

2007 – South Africa vs West Indies at Kingsmead, Durban – SA lost by 128 runs

2009 – South Africa vs England at Kingsmead, Durban – SA lost by an innings and 98 runs

2010 – South Africa vs India at Kingsmead, Durban – SA lost by 87 runs

2011 – South Africa vs Sri Lanka at Kingsmead, Durban – SA lost by 208 runs

2013 – South Africa vs India at Kingsmead, Durban – SA won by 10 wickets

2014 – South Africa vs West Indies at St George’s Park, PE – Draw

2015 – South Africa vs England at St George’s Park, PE – SA lost by 241 runs

2016 – South Africa vs Sri Lanka at St George’s Park, PE – SA won by 206 runs

2017 – South Africa vs Zimbabwe at St George’s Park, PE (D/N) – SA won by an innings and 120 runs

2018 – South Africa vs Pakistan at at SuperSport Park, Centurion – SA won by 6 wickets

2019 – South Africa vs England at SuperSport Park, Centurion – SA won by 107 runs.

 

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