South Africa’s two Tests against Bangladesh at the end of the summer were confirmed on Wednesday as being played at Kingsmead and St George’s Park, which is hardly earth-shattering news. But it is the exact same schedule as in February 2019 when the cricket universe was shaken by Sri Lanka’s 2-0 series win.
The first Test in Durban starts on March 31 and the second Test in Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) begins on April 8.
Sri Lanka shocked the Proteas at Kingsmead as they chased down 304 thanks to Kusal Perera’s incredible 153 not out and a 78-run last-wicket stand, and then the tourists won by eight wickets in Port Elizabeth to become the first sub-continental team to win a Test series in South Africa.
The series was the last for legendary fast bowler Dale Steyn and he remembers the uncertainty created by conditions that were unfamiliar for the home team but suited the visitors.
“The Port Elizabeth game was my last Test and we were just desperate to try and knock them over,” Steyn told The Citizen this week. “We were under pressure and that leads to cloudy minds sometimes.
“But that’s what happens when conditions are not in your favour at home. I think whenever we host a subcontinent team, you kind of want to play them on the Highveld, where there is bounce and seam movement.
“Those are unfamiliar conditions for them and you want to take them out of their comfort zone. But the conditions at Kingsmead and St George’s Park will even things out a bit because Bangladesh will be good on slower pitches.
“Maybe it’s because the Test matches won’t go as long as at SuperSport Park for instance. It will make things a bit more difficult for us, but I still think we well have enough to knock them over,” Steyn said.
One good thing about playing on the coast is that the pitches should be easier for the Proteas batsmen to shine on after a long period when they have not been able to advertise their real abilities at home due to a succession of tough surfaces to bat on.
“The batsmen had a rough time against India, although Dean Elgar was fantastic and Keegan Petersen was phenomenal. And now New Zealand will have seam and swing, if not so much pace and bounce,” Steyn said.
“So conditions should be a little bit more in favour of the batsmen against Bangladesh and our guys will be stoked with that.
“I still think we have a fantastic team, especially if we have our full seam attack with Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada.”