Proteas’ Oz tour takes shape
Cape Town - Although yet to be officially confirmed, South Africa’s three-Test tour of Australia next summer looks set to involve Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney in that order.
The Proteas tackle the Baggy Greens at the slightly unusual time Down Under of November and early December, rather than the bumper holiday period a little later, because of the impasse between the rival boards over scheduling at that more lucrative time of the year.
Both countries steadfastly wish to retain their Boxing Day and New Year fixtures, so the Proteas will host New Zealand then, while the Aussies also take on slightly lesser Test drawcards in the form of Sri Lanka.
But their own keenly-awaited hostilities earlier in the season appear certain to kick off at the Gabba in Brisbane, a venue that has not featured a South African Test match in some 49 years.
That venue traditionally launches the Australian Test season, and local newspaper the Courier-Mail first reported some time ago that South Africa, as a result, would be the appealing visitors.
The last Test between the two great rivals there came during the drawn five-Test series in 1963/64, when Bobby Simpson and Trevor Goddard were the respective series captains.
It means there is almost certainly only one change from the programme for the last series on Aussie soil, in 2008/09, when Graeme Smith’s side earned a milestone 2-1 victory, with the first Test simply switching from the WACA in Perth to the Gabba this time.
At least two South African travel firms offering sports supporters’ tours are advertising provisional packages online involving Melbourne and Sydney as likely venues for the second and third Tests respectively - they tend to do this based on quiet knowledge before tour schedules are officially unveiled.
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