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Friday, 27 December 2013

Boxing Day Test: Of crowds and pitches on a festive Day



Boxing day test matches are special outside the Asian sub continent much like cricket on Diwali in India. Thankfully for the first time in this India's tour of South Africa people keeping with the festive Christmas season and tradition came in big numbers and we had the first full house of the tour.

The attendance at Kingsmead today was 18,000 plus which can be multiplied four and a half times over to match the crowd that turned up to watch the other Boxing day Test in Melbourne between England and Australia. A record 90,831 turned up to see the fourth Ashes Test hoping Australia can continue their domination over England after having already sealed the series.

Kingsmead's modest capacity not withstanding, a few thousand seats remained unoccupied. "They might hop over from the beach across the stadium soon," said a local. As it turned out some of them just chose not to turn up to see the agony of seeing Indian batsmen plant their front foot forward on a pitch they seemed to be all at home.

There are already murmurs from the South African camp about how the once feared Durban track is becoming increasingly slow. Chief stadium in charge Brett Proctor also seemed sure it would not crack up too soon nor pick up pace. Indian bowling coach Joe Dawes did enough to rub it in by suggesting on winning the toss they had 'always expected it to be flat'. So much for offering things on a platter for the visitors!

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