A weekend without cricket for Cape Town
Of all South Africa's cities, Cape Town is the pick among for them for weekend getaways. Saturdays and Sundays mark the end of the working week and a time to relax or party in the restaurant and bar capital of the country. In summer, they are also days for cricket watching, but, this weekend, Newlands Cricket Ground will be still instead of surging, after South Africa wrapped up victory over Australia in little over two days.
While the locals will celebrate the victory, the stadium's food and drink vendors will be disappointed. Organisers may rue starting the match on a Wednesday, denying them the opportunity to fill the 25,000 seater, which did not reach capacity during the week. Neither Saturday nor Sunday was a sell-out yet, but there were "a lot more tickets sold than for the working day," Andre Odendaal, chief executive of Western Cape Cricket, told ESPNcricinfo.
A week before the match 12,500 tickets had been told for Saturday and 8,000 for Sunday. Tickets will not be refunded, in accordance with the policy of sale, but any weekend ticket holders were allowed in for Friday's two hours of play. They can also be used next Friday, for the franchise one-day cup match between the Cape Cobras and the Titans.
Newlands painted a lively picture on Friday, with the grass embankment full, the stands pleasantly occupied and mini-cricket coaching clinics taking place on the field after play but it will be a lonely shell for the next two days, when it would have been at its busiest. Odendaal said that vendors would probably not have insurance for the loss of income they would encounter over the next two days, but that they are probably not too hard done by, because Newlands will hosts two Tests this summer.
Their next international is the traditional New Year's Test, which will be against Sri Lanka. The other Test grounds, Wanderers in Johannesburg, SuperSport Park in Centurion and Kingsmead in Durban, will host only one Test. "We don't do too badly this time around," Odendaal said. "Even though the weekends are always the highlight, seeing Australia 21 for 9, may be worth not having any cricket this weekend."
Given the bizarre fashion in which the game played out, with all four innings featuring on the second day and two of them lasting only 42.3 overs, Odendaal was not too disappointed with the outcome despite what it will mean for the bank balance. "We need all the income we can get because we have such a few days of international cricket a year," Odendaal said. "But we have to balance that against the unusual nature of this game and how it has added to the legacy of Newlands."
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent