‘The tourists actually have a favourable record at the oldest ground in South Africa since the Proteas’ return from isolation in 1992.’
The gripping Test series between the Proteas and England heads off to St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth this week for the third Test. Unlike the previous two venues, Centurion and Newlands, the tourists actually have a favourable record at the oldest ground in South Africa since the Proteas’ return from isolation in 1992.
1. 26-30 December 1995, 4th Test
South Africa: 428 & 162/9d
England: 263 & 189/3
Result: Match drawn
The fourth Test of England’s first series in South Africa post unity is remembered for being Paul Adams’ debut Test. “Gogga Mania” had gripped SA during that summer and everyone was calling for the left-arm wrist-spinner with the “frog in the blender” action to have a crack at the English. Adams didn’t disappoint by claiming 3/75 from 37 overs in the first innings, but could not prevent England from batting out 92 overs in the second innings to draw the Test.
2. 9-13 December 1999, 2nd Test
South Africa: 450 & 224/4d
England: 373 & 153/6
Result: Match drawn
The Proteas had their own Ben Stokes back in 1999 and his name was Lance Klusener. Just like Stokes now has the ability to turn a game on its head in a session, so did “Zulu”. Klusener struck a scintillating 178 from 221 balls (25×4, 2×6) before Michael Atherton responded with a 108 for England. The Test is also remembered for the “claimed catch” by England’s Chris Adams that raised the tension between the two teams.
3. 17-21 December 2004, 1st Test
South Africa: 337 & 229
England: 425 & 145/3
Result: England won by 7 wickets
The English celebrated their first Test win in South Africa since Durban 1964 – bar the contrived Hansie Cronjé Test in 2000 – in Port Elizabeth in 2004. Although Boeta Dippenaar struck a century for the Proteas, England opener Andrew Strauss was superb, posting 126 and 91 not out.
The only consolation for the Proteas was that AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn made their Test debuts, with Steyn rubber-stamping his arrival with a memorable yorker that cleaned up Michael Vaughan.