South Africa to play Test cricket in Zimbabwe after 13 years

Harare: South Africa will play Test cricket in Zimbabwe for the first time in 13 years in August, following the release of a ground-breaking month-long tour.

As well as the Proteas playing Zimbabwe in a one-off Test in Harare, Australia will also tour the African nation for the first time in a decade.

After South Africa and Zimbabwe play three one-day internationals, in Bulawayo, Australia will join them for a tri-nations series back in the capital.

"We are really excited to have the opportunity to host two strong sides like Australia and South Africa at the same time," Zimbabwe Cricket managing director Wilfred Mukondiwa said.

"Our players need the high-level competition the two teams will provide, and our fans will enjoy watching the matches."

Zimbabwe have not played a home international since beating Pakistan during their Test series last September, following which player strikes and administrative problems have undermined cricket in the country.

South Africa's most recent Test in Zimbabwe was during a two-match series in September 2001, which they won 1-0.

Australia's have not played in Zimbabwe since an ODI series in 2004, although they did send an Australia A team to the country last year.

Cricket South Africa chief executive Haroon Lorgat said the matches would kick-start the Proteas' preparations for next year's World cup in Australia and New Zealand.

"It is natural for all the international teams to shortly turn their attention to the 2015 Cricket World Cup and the tour to Zimbabwe will trigger our campaign," Lorgat said.

"Leading up to the World Cup, the Proteas will have an intense programme of ODI's against Zimbabwe, Australia, Sri Lanka and New Zealand, all away from home, before facing the West Indies in the Momentum ODI Series in South Africa.

"Playing nearly 25 matches in this format, mostly away, will present good opportunity for our team to prepare for the World Cup."



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