Australia in South Africa 2013-14 February 3, 2014

Australia's warm-up match washed out


Persistent rain in Potchefstroom has led to the cancellation of Australia's scheduled warm-up match against a South African Invitation XI that was due to start on Wednesday. Instead, the tourists will train at the indoor centre in Centurion, which is also the venue of the first Test, and hope the weather clears so they can get some outdoor practice as well.

Australia arrived in South Africa last Wednesday and went straight to Potchefstroom, their preferred practice venue on every visit to the country, but rain has played havoc with their plans. Their first practice session last Friday was moved indoors because of wet weather. They managed outdoor training on both Saturday and Sunday but with downpours forecast for the rest of the week, decided not to risk staying in the university town with the possibility of no cricket.

The team will move to Johannesburg today and will use the facilities at SuperSport Park from Tuesday. South Africa have also assembled in the city and their planned three-day game against a composite XI will go ahead at the Wanderers, despite the rain.

"Unfortunately, with persistent heavy rain forecast for Potchefstroom we have had to look at alternative arrangements to ensure the team gets the best preparation possible ahead of the first Test," Gavin Dovey, Australia's team manager, said. "CSA have been very accommodating in assisting us relocate to Johannesburg, providing us with more flexibility with our training options, specifically adequate indoor training facilities to counter any the bad weather."

Although showers are predicted for every day this week, South Africa will stick to their plan of getting match-time to combat what was described as a penchant for starting slowly in Test series. They have the advantage of the Wanderers drainage, which displayed its quality just three days' ago.

On Friday, heavy rain throughout the day made it seem unlikely the domestic T20 match between the Lions and the Cobras would take place. But, the skies closed as the start neared, the game began on time and a full fixture was possible.

The new arrangements mean only South Africa will have match time under their belt ahead of the three Test series, which starts next Wednesday, although their break from the whites has been longer. South Africa last played Test cricket five weeks ago against India while Australia's Ashes ended less than a month ago.

This is the second time this summer a touring team's practice match has been cancelled in South Africa. In December, India's two-day fixture had to be called off because of a soaked outfield at Willowmoore Park in Benoni. Although there was no rain on the day of the match and the pitch was heavy, an unusually high water table meant the playing surface was not ready in time.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on February 7, 2014, 3:45 GMT

    Its funny but during the current Test match between New Zealand and India at Tea, former Australian Great and Former selector Neil Harvey called the current Ashes series between England and Australia as being between 2 average teams, playing average cricket. It was interesting listening to him as i thought Australia played well and that England was rubbish.

    Good Luck Aussie, I hope you smash the Protea's. Will be a good series :)

  • Xiong on February 4, 2014, 6:05 GMT

    @Faizal You're going to take an average over 2 tests that doesn't even beat one of our bowler's career average, and ignore MJ's average of ~14 over 5 tests? Don't think you have much grounding to be calling people ignorant.

  • David on February 4, 2014, 6:03 GMT

    I've not previously seen posts from @ George D'souza, but I'm wondering why an Indian/India supporter is posting rubbish on this board instead of focussing on the hammering India is getting in NZ.

    @ George D'souza writes "(Aus) have made a definite plan to milk your Bowling around at Supersport Park just like Kohli, Rahane & Co did to you at Jo'burg more than a month back." I don't know how else to say this, but that statement is complete rubbish. Philander took 7/129 in that match. That is an average of 18.43. If you think a match average of 18.43 is being milked, you clearly have no real understanding of cricket - essentially are ignorant about the sport - or you are simply leveling baseless assertions for some non cricket related reason, perhaps some personal grudge you hold. Either way, there is no validity in what you write.

    Perhaps you should stick to writing about India's thrashing by NZ.

  • Cameron on February 4, 2014, 3:42 GMT

    Faizal Kassam: I'm pretty certain what George was referring to was the ease that Philander was dealt with in Australia last time around, when he was rendered toothless & innocuous.

  • David on February 4, 2014, 0:46 GMT

    @faisal kassam, Ryan Harris has a test bowling average of 21.56 which is better that 22.8 in my books. He also plays in tests when the wicket offers nothing to the bowlers so his average isn't inflated. It is very difficult to listen to accusations of ignorance from people displaying it themselves.

  • James on February 4, 2014, 0:10 GMT

    This scheduling is so ridiculous. No wonder teams have travelled so poorly in recent years - they are given hardly any time or practice matches to adjust to foreign conditions. How can a team travelling to play the world no.1 side have only one warm-up match scheduled? At least SA are also a bit cricket-starved to even things out.

  • disco on February 3, 2014, 23:09 GMT

    I'm relieved to see that MJ has realised the folly of shaving his totem and it should be back in full bloom ready for the first match.

  • Jay on February 3, 2014, 20:15 GMT

    Should be a fascinating series with SA winning it in the end. It's a no brainer that SA have the better bowlers and batsmen. Mitchell Johnson no longer has his magic moustache which means poor returns for him on this tour. Who else do the Aussies have ? Oh yes Siddle, who will give you 2 wickets every innings which is decent for him and then Rhino Harris. Australia's bowling is not the worry, it's their fragile middle order which was even exposed by England recently. I expect Clarke to score runs as usual along with Haddin. The rest, not so sure. History favours Australia though but as we always say, history can be rewritten.

  • Dummy4 on February 3, 2014, 18:33 GMT

    @George D'souza Vernon took 10 wickets in 2 tests against India at an average of 22.8. That's better than any of the Australians Test record. Hardly "milked", as you so ignorantly put it.

  • Dummy4 on February 3, 2014, 16:16 GMT

    Don't worry Vernon, you keep watching the Aussies do Indoor practice and plan out your Yorkers or Outswingers. The men from the East have made a definite plan immediately after the Ashes to milk your Bowling around at Supersport Park just like Kohli, Rahane & Co did to you at Jo'burg more than a month back. All the Best! Anyways predicting a Good series....probably a See-Saw battle going to the Decider Test at Cape town.......Rain please keep Away from this Lovely series!

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