Cricket-South Africa to play four-day test against Zimbabwe

Sept 21 (Reuters) - South Africa will play a four-day pink ball test against neighbours Zimbabwe in Port Elizabeth as the traditional Boxing Day fixture before India arrive for a tour in late December, Cricket South Africa has announced. The day-night match has yet to be granted test status by the International Cricket Council but there are precedents for contests in the longest format of the game being played over three, four and six days as well as the usual five. "To ensure we do not disappoint our loyal fans over the traditional Boxing Day period and to take advantage of our brand-new lights at St George's Park, we will host Zimbabwe in the first ever four-day day-night test match to be played," CSA chief Haroon Lorgat said in a news release. "The extensive revamping of our international grounds are on schedule and the day-night test match promises to be a world-class experience for the players and fans." CSA also announced the broad itinerary for the tour by India, who will play three tests, six one-day internationals and three Twenty20s against their hosts. The first test in the "Mahatma Gandhi-Nelson Mandela" series between the current top two in the world rankings will take place at Newlands in Cape Town starting on Jan. 5 with the dates and venues for the other matches to be confirmed. "The time constraints faced by India have forced us to reduce the test matches to three while increasing white ball cricket to six ODIs and three T20I matches," Lorgat added. India will arrive in South Africa on Dec. 28 and play a two day warm-up match at Boland Park in Paarl on the last two days of the year. (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Greg Stutchbury)