Pitch Report: Kingsmead
Ends: Umgeni End, Old Fort End
Home Team: Dolphins
Test History: 42 Tests; 14 home wins; 14 away wins; 14 draws
Last 10 Tests: 5 home wins; 4 away wins; 1 draw
Last 10 Tosses: 6 batted first (3 wins, 3 defeats); 4 bowled first (1 win, 2 draws, 1 loss)
Little more than a stone’s throw from the ocean, in the heart of the city, Kingsmead is located in humid Durban, home to sandy beaches and surfing.
The ground has played host to Tests since January 1923 when England and South Africa played to out a draw. In 1939 England and South Africa played a timeless Test, which also ended in a draw when England had to catch the boat home.
Arguably the most famous match at the ground is when South Africa beat Australia by an innings and 129-runs in a Test match in 1970, with Barry Richards and Graeme Pollock causing havoc for the hosts.
The venue was also the scene for the last Test of South Africa’s greatest ever Test cricketer thus far, Jacques Kallis, in 2013.
Kingsmead’s easterly location means it is prone to bad light and the humid climate can result in powerful thunderstorms.
Last time out
The weather and exceptionally poor drainage as a result of maintenance to the field meant that very little cricket was played when New Zealand visited in 2016.
The Proteas were bowled out for 263 in their first innings with Hashim Amla the only batsman to pass fifty.
The Black Caps were reduced to 15 for 2 but thunderstorms spoiled the party and Kingsmead ws given an official warning.
Happy Hunting Ground
Kallis has the most runs at Kingsmead with 1266 in 16 Tests. That tally includes five centuries and five fifties, however, Gary Kirsten holds the record for the highest individual Test score at the ground with 275 against England.
Shaun Pollock, who also played his domestic cricket at Kingsmead, has the most wickets in Tests at the ground with 44 scalps in 12 matches.
Australia skipper Steve Smith said ahead of the clash: “Looking at the (Kingsmead) wicket now a couple of days out, it looks like it could be quite slow, maybe not a great deal of carry.
“But I’m terrible at judging wickets, so it’s just about summing it up when we’re out there and adapting to whatever we’re dealt and identifying it quickly and making sure we’re doing everything we need to do on our feet quickly.”
Australia assistant coach David Saker thinks both Nathan Lyon and Keshav Maharaj will play a critical role in the upcoming Test, he said: “Both spinners are going to play a big part because you can’t keep using fast bowlers.
“You have to give them some rest.
“They’re going to be important because Nathan was superb for us throughout the summer.
Warm and humid and as usual in Durban, thunderstorms are likely to materialize out of nothing
Kingsmead use to be known for it’s bounce and carry in the early nineties with teams often playing an all out pace attack when coming to Durban.
However over the last few years the surface has changed dramatically, with higher scores by the batsmen and spinners coming into the matches on Day four and five.
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