Australia Test fails to bring out fans in Durban

2018-03-03 12:38
Australia celebrate (Gallo Images)

Durban - It was billed as one of cricket's great battles but it hasn't translated into a rush on the turnstiles.

LIVE SCORECARD: SA v Australia, 1st Test

The first Test between South Africa and Australia at Kingsmead features the world's second and third-ranked teams, both bristling with world-class fast bowlers and stroke-playing batsmen.

Yet the crowds have been negligible.

The official attendance on the first day on Thursday was 3 957. It improved slightly to 4 865 on Friday but there were not enough people to create a vibrant atmosphere in the 18 000-capacity ground.

Ticket prices are low, starting at R60 for students and pensioners and R100 for adults. The most expensive seats are R230.

At those prices spectators are likely to spend more on food, drink and parking than the admission price.

Test crowds - or the lack of them - have been a concern in South Africa, and Durban in particular, ever since South Africa staged its first post-isolation Test in the coastal city in 1992/93.

Despite frequently being allocated the prime Boxing Day holiday slot, single day crowds have seldom exceeded 10 000.

The current match is being played at an unusual time of year for Test cricket but Altaaf Kazi, Cricket South Africa's head of communications, said the turn-out was disappointing.

"We have done all the usual promotion," he said. "It is not as though Durban people don't support cricket. One-day games attract capacity crowds."

One theory is that people prefer to watch Test cricket on television, with live ball-by-ball coverage on both free-to-air and subscription channels.

There is also a significant counter-attraction on Saturday with the local Sharks team playing a Super Rugby match with an afternoon kick-off at the nearby Kings Park stadium.

South Africa's poor position after two days was a further deterrent to potential spectators.

Although there has been extensive promotion on regional radio, newspaper coverage has been patchy and confined to the sports pages.

A Saturday newspaper had a preview of the Sharks game as its main sports article, with a report on the cricket in a lesser position.

Next week's second Test is being played in Port Elizabeth, another city where attendances usually are poor, before the series moves to Cape Town and Johannesburg, where bigger crowds are likely.

Read more on:    australia  |  proteas  |  cricket

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Thursday, 22 March 2018
South Africa v Australia, Cape Town 10:00
Friday, 30 March 2018
South Africa v Australia, Johannesburg 10:00
Previous Results

Date Match Result

Your thoughts on the two-Test suspension handed down by the ICC to Proteas speedster Kagiso Rabada?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.