The Proteas’ four-day Test against Zimbabwe in Port Elizabeth will have extra overs and extended playing time, says the ICC.
Each day’s play in the Test, starting on Boxing Day, will have a minimum of 98 overs, eight more than what is required in five-day Tests. Play will be extended an extra 30 minutes to accommodate the additional eight overs.
A first-innings lead of 150 will be enough to enforce the follow-on, 50 runs fewer than the runs needed in the five-day format.
The Test against Zimbabwe is also a day-night match, and Cricket South Africa is permitted to set the hours of play and duration of the sessions, with each session lasting a minimum of two hours and a maximum of two and a half hours.
In Port Elizabeth, the normal hours of play are set to run from 1.30pm to 9pm, with the first and second sessions being two hours and 15 minutes each, and the final session running for two hours. An extra 30 minutes will be available to the fielding team to complete the minimum required overs each day. Play will begin at 1.30pm and end at 9pm.
Test matches, the game’s oldest format, have witnessed a steady decline in attendances in recent years, throwing the door open to a number of novel means to engage fans, including the introduction of day-night Tests. South Africa is leading the way in combining the two in an effort to attract the crowds under the revamped lights at St George’s Park.