98 overs to be bowled in inaugural South Africa-Zimbabwe four-day Test

ANI | Updated: Dec 15, 2017 18:55 IST

Port Elizabeth [South Africa], December 15 (ANI): The inaugural four-day test to be played between Zimbabwe and South Africa would be having a minimum of 98 overs per day, as per the new International Cricket Council's (ICC) playing conditions.

Currently, in every day of a five-day Test match, a minimum of 90 overs are played. Also, a lead of 150 runs or more will be enough to enforce the follow-on in the four-day Test, as compared to 200 runs in a five-day Test match.

The reduced follow-on mark is in sync with the existing laws of the cricket game, which is already applied in domestic and other four-day first-class cricket matches.

To accommodate the extra overs, the ICC's playing conditions state that the match would go on for six and a half hours in all each day, instead of the usual six hours for five-day Tests.

The cricket board of a country shall determine the hours of play and duration of the sessions, with each session lasting a minimum of two hours and a maximum of two and a half hours. An extra 30 minutes would also be available to the fielding team to complete the minimum required overs on each day.

Beyond the half hour of overtime, any remaining overs cannot be carried over to the following day, unless the match has been stopped due to bad weather conditions.

Also, the last hour of play on the final day will officially commence only when 83 overs have been bowled. For a five-day Test, it is 75 overs.

In case, if 83 overs are bowled ahead of schedule, then the calculations for the last hour will be dictated by the clock, as is the case in a five-day Test.

South Africa will host their southern neighbour Zimbabwe in the inaugural four-day Test match at Port Elizabeth in South Africa on December 26. This is also the first instance, where the Test would be played as a day/night game.

Earlier, the four-day Test was approved by the ICC as 'trial' in October this year.

Test matches, cricket game's oldest format, have witnessed a steady decline in attendances in recent years. The matches being played recently between teams are getting over within three or four days.

The format has come in for stiff competition from the game's newer, shorter formats, such as Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) and domestic leagues across the globe.

Officials and former players have acknowledged the need to make Tests four-day affairs instead of five, more interesting and viewer-friendly. (ANI)