SouthAfrica.info (Johannesburg)

27 February 2014

South Africa: Cricket Test to Mark 20 Years of Freedom

The third test match between South Africa and Australia, which gets under way at Newlands Stadium in Cape Town on Saturday, will form part of the country's 20 Years of Freedom celebrations, the Department of Sport and Recreation said on Wednesday.

A number of activities have been lined up around the test, starting on Friday with a coaching clinic at Khayelitsha Cricket Club, where 150 learners from the area will have an opportunity to interact with 15 coaches.

Former cricketing greats including Gary Kirsten, Paul Adams, Monde Zondeki, and Peter Kirsten will be in attendance, along with players from provincial side the Cape Cobras.

Three-hundred learners from selected schools will be transported to the stadium to watch the test match on the fourth and fifth days.

Freedom Plaque

On Saturday, Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula will hand over a 20 Years of Freedom plaque to Cricket South Africa, the Australian Cricket Association, and Proteas' great Jacques Kallis.

On Sunday, there will be a gala dinner with 200 former cricket players and administrators to celebrate Kallis, who retired from test cricket after South Africa's series against India in December. The dinner will also celebrate Cricket South Africa's achievements.

Optimistic

Meanwhile, the Proteas's recent 231-run win over Australia, which levelled the three-test series at 1-1, has left the squad in an optimistic mood ahead of the series decider.

Proteas coach Russell Domingo said the positive energy has given his squad the edge heading into the deciding test.

'Winning is important'

"A breakfast area a day after winning a cricket game and losing one are two totally different areas," Domingo told the media on Wednesday afternoon. "Winning is important, no matter how you try not to emphasise the importance of winning because you want to focus on your processes.

"The general vibe around the team after a good win has so much more energy than after a loss. There is a lot of tension after a loss, reflection and what-ifs, but after you win you try and emphasise the reasons you have been successful.

"There is a good energy around the side; guys know that they have played more to their potential, probably not their best, but to their potential in the last test match."

Fielding

Unusually for the South African team, a key department that they will have to improve on to perform at their clinical best will be the fielding, which has been a let-down in the first two matches.

"We always pride ourselves in our fielding," Domingo said. "We have generally fielded well and taken some great catches, but it's like everything else in the game, if you put one or two down there is always a little bit of anxiety around it."

Last Newlands meeting

The Proteas held their first training session at Newlands on Wednesday afternoon, the same venue where they famously dismissed Australia for only 47 in their second innings in November 2011. Although the current Australian team contains many of the players involved in that game, which South Africa won by eight wickets, Domingo said memories of the match wouldn't be a major concern for the visiting team.

"I don't think it makes too much difference," Domingo said of the scarring. "They have played great cricket between that test match and over the last few months. I'm sure they will probably look at the highlights over the next couple of days and see what happened. There will be a little bit of anxiety, but that is part of it."

Warner's allegations

Domingo also commented on David Warner's jibes at the Proteas, in which the outspoken Australian opener suggested that the South Africans had deliberately scuffed the ball in Port Elizabeth to create more reverse swing, and described the allegations as "disappointing".

"It's always a bit disappointing when guys throw those sort of accusations around," Domingo admitted. "We are a seriously motivated team and I suppose he has added 10% towards our motivation levels after the comments he has made.

"We pride ourselves on playing the game as openly and as honestly, so those comments have definitely motivated us."

 - SAinfo reporter and Cricket South Africa

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