Established: 1845
Capacity: 25,000
Head groundsman: Evan Flint
Floodlights: Yes
Ends: Wynberg End, Kelvin Grove End
Home Team: Cape Cobras
Test History: 49 Tests; 20 home wins; 19 away wins; 10 draws
Last 10 Tests: 7 home wins; 3 draws
Last 10 Tosses: 5 batted first (5 losses); 5 bowled first (2 wins, 3 draws)

It could be the location, or perhaps the backdrop of Table Mountain. Maybe it's the oak trees or the brewery next door, but Newlands has that something special.

It might also just be that Cape Town and in particular the New Year's Test delivers the most reliable and excitable crowds in South Africa.

Added to the spectator-friendly environment is the sporting nature of the pitch, which has seen just five drawn Tests in 24 matches since readmission. Newlands has also been something of a fortress for South Africa in that time - the only side to beat them here since 1993 is Australia, although they have done it three times.

The ground hosted its first Test match in March 1889, when England defeated South Africa by an innings and 202 runs. References to 'The New Lands' date back to early colonial maps in 1656 and 1661, when the Dutch settlement located at today's Cape Town city centre literally spread out into new lands, where the current suburb of Newlands is located.

While redevelopment in the 90s saw stands replace some of the grass embankments as the stadium became a 25,000-seater, fans still pack the grassy eastern side of the ground to enjoy the shade of the oaks and a splendid view of Table Mountain behind the cricket action.

Last Time Out
The most recent Test at Newlands was only six weeks ago, when New Zealand found themselves humiliated by an innings and 27 runs thanks to Vernon Philander's demolition in the first innings.

The Black Caps were all out for 45 in under 20 overs on the first day, with Big Vern recording figures of 6-3-7-5. The Proteas then amassed 347 for eight, with Alviro Petersen scoring a century and the hosts making the track look like a cement block.

The Kiwis were much improved the second time around, but Dean Brownlie's century wasn't nearly enough as they were all out for 275 just after lunch on day three. Philander had added two more scalps to his tally, while Dale Steyn bagged three to reiterate the fast bowling advantage.

Happy Hunting Ground
Newlands can be considered a spiritual home for Jacques Kallis. He is the only batsman to score over 2000 international runs here, and he has nine centuries and nine fifties to his name in 21 matches. He averages 77 here.

Proteas skipper Graeme Smith, who will be playing his 100th Test as South Africa captain, is the only other player to amass more than a 1000 runs at the ground, and he has a top score of 182. He averages over 54. Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers also enjoy this ground.

For Pakistan, they will be without the only man to make an impact here. Taufeeq Umar is injured, which is a pity for the visitors as he scored a century the only time he played here, in 2003.

As for the bowlers, the top of the pops is Dale Steyn, who has taken 53 wickets in 10 matches here. He averages 20-odd, and has an economy rate under three, and combined with his current form, he will be a deadly weapon for the hosts.

They Said
New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum rued not getting to the final days: "I still think if we'd put in a good first innings, as we did second time around, the cracks might have been in play for us."

Vernon Philander loved the deck: "I'd like to take this pitch with me!"

SA spinner Robin Peterson, ahead of the Pakistan Test: "We've played on various surfaces here at Newlands. It would seem to be that the seamers do a lot of the damage but, in saying that, it's probably the only surface that we are going to play against Pakistan on where a spinner could come into his own."

Weather Forecast
According to the forecasts, which usually don't pan out, the only day set to have rain is the first one, and even then only in the morning. Days two through four are set to be clear and hot, while day five, should the game reach that stage, has a fifty percent chance of showers.

After the 45 all out the Kiwis suffered here in January, Pakistan underwent a similar fate in the first Test of this series, falling for 49 at The Wanderers. This does not bode well for them, on a track made for Steyn and company.

Pakistan lost that game by 211 runs, and they had very little to show against the fast bowlers. Mohammad Hafeez, on the other hand, was the main force for the visitors, though his spin could only come to the fore if they get the game into day four.

It's tough to imagine the Proteas coming away from Newlands with anything less than a win, given their current form, though if Pakistan bowl first and use the new ball well, the cat could be amongst the pigeons.