Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here

Home > Features >

India vs South Africa 2nd Test: Why schedule a Test match at Durban in December?

While the play was stopped due to bad light at Kingsmead, Durban on Day One, on the second day the start of play was delayed due to drizzle © AFP



Once again, millions of cricket fans sat in frustration as bad light ended the first day of the second Test between India and South Africa early and incessant drizzle delayed the start of the second day’s play at Durban. Arunabha Sengupta looks at the weather records and wonders why Test matches are scheduled in the city at this time of the year.


“I do think that, of all the silly, irritating tomfoolishness by which we are plagued, this weather-forecast fraud is about the most aggravating. It forecasts precisely what happened yesterday or the day before, and precisely the opposite of what is going to happen to-day.” – Jerome K Jerome.


Some decades earlier, we did use to tune into the weather forecast bulletins, hear sombre predictions about expected cloudy skies, thundershowers, smile knowingly and reach for our sunscreens and dark glasses.


But times have changed drastically since then – even more significantly since Jerome K Jerome wrote those immortal lines in Three Men in a Boat.


Meteorologists have markedly improved the accuracy of their predictions. Radar and satellite technology have advanced by leaps and bounds. Four day forecasts are increasingly accurate today and most of it can be found online. Even extended predictions can be made with startling degrees of accuracy.


And every forecast of the short or long time range did ring warning bells about rain and bad light in Durban during the scheduled Test match.


One does not even have to talk about the accuracy of predictions. Historical data have for long been available in this field– and have been used as almanacs for planning and decision making since time immemorial.


The need to make a trip to the meteorological office also does not arise. Even informs us that the rainy season in Durban starts late in November, continues through December and extends into January.


Websites that the cautious travellers refer to while planning their holidays are full of such guiding information. They inform us unequivocally that Durban has around 118 mm of precipitation in December, which makes it one of the wettest months of the year.


The sites also tell us that on an average, Durban experiences 20 days of rain in December. That makes the probability of getting five consecutive days of uninterrupted play very, very low.


Average Rain in Durban over months   (the chart above shows precipitation and the chart below the number of rainy days)





The tourism sites and travel guidebooks  do another great job while estimating the hours of sun that the city may experience in a December day. After all, when one is out sightseeing, cloudy skies, poor visibility and early sunset can be real spoilers. And the travel books and sites inform us that during December, Durban gets around six hours of sun per day. Cricket matches need more than seven hours of sun per day.


What is surprising is that the cricket authorities choose to ignore such information. Darkness as one lies on the Suncoast beach can be irritating, but the same as one squares up to a Dale Steyn delivery. Rain can be a bother for the traveller, but a showstopper for a Test match.


One need not look at the weather archives either. A cursory glance at Wisden would also tell us that Durban is not the ideal venue for Test matches in December. Since 2003, the current India South Africa encounter is the eighth Test match that is being played at Kingsmead in the last month of the year. Without exception, every Test has been interrupted by rain or bad light.


One wonders why? In the days when every bit of cutting-edge technology is being used in the game, where team strategies, umpiring decisions, fitness regimes are regulated by the latest scientific advances, why is something as age old as weather prediction left casually in the heartless hands of the gods of chance?


A Test match between two top cricketing nations that attracts so much hype and attention is associated with a lot of stake. It deals with people scheduling their holiday plans around the game, moulding their social lives to centre around this sporting mega-event – some of that involves booking tickets and flights, get-togethers, cancelling and postponing pressing engagements. It is always a shame if such elaborate preparation and anticipation ends up in a damp squib because of pathetic medieval scheduling.


South Africa vs India — Live on Ten Cricket


(Arunabha Sengupta is a cricket historian and Chief Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He writes about the history and the romance of the game, punctuated often by opinions about modern day cricket, while his post-graduate degree in statistics peeps through in occasional analytical pieces. The author of three novels, he can be followed on Twitter at

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 19, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Dubai

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 19, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Dubai

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 20, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Sharjah

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 21, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 22, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Sharjah


Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 18, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Rajasthan Royals won by 4 wkts

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 18, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Kings XI Punjab won by 6 wkts

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 17, 2014  at Sharjah

Royal Challengers Bangalore won by 8 wkts

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 16, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 41 runs

Womens World T20, 2014

Apr 6, 2014  at Dhaka

Australia Women won by 6 wkts


Delhi vs Bangalore match 2, IPL 2014 at Sharjah


Video Highlights: Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders wickets

IPL Statistics and Records: IPL’s First

IPL 2014: Umpire Camera View creates latest buzz in tournament

IPL 7: Vintage Jacques Kallis showed his class for Kolkata Knight Riders against Mumbai Indians

IPL 2014: Capacity crowd at UAE provides glimpse of the T20 league’s huge following

BCCI Chennai Super Kings Delhi Daredevils England India IPL IPL 7 IPL 2014 Kings XI Punjab Kolkata Knight Riders Lasith Malinga MS Dhoni Mumbai Indians Royal Challengers Bangalore Virat Kohli

Pakistan Cricket Board bring out strict eligibility rules for appointing coaches

Peter Moores set to become England coach

IPL 2014: Anjinkya Rahane says he was confident of overhauling Sunrisers Hyderabad’s target

Delhi Daredevils vs Kolkata Knight Riders IPL 2014, Match 6 Preview: Delhi search for first win

Rajasthan Royals open their IPL 2014 campaign with a nervy 4-wicket over Sunrisers Hyderabad

IPL 2014: Rajasthan Royals’ team composition vital for success

Kings XI Punjab’s local talent gives them an added dimension in IPL 2014

Former Australia PM Robert Menzies used cricket to win a case as a lawyer

Naoomal Jaoomal: The man who opened batting in India’s first ever Test

Sony launches ‘IPL Smart Earphone’ to filter crap commentary; calls endeavour CSR

Fan of the Day

Sudatta Mukherjee

Sudatta Mukherjee

1 Posts | 0 Fans

Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders IPL 2014 Video Highlights

CUPS, a mobile application for unlimited coffee, launched

6.9-earthquake off PNG Bougainville: USGS

RR vs SRH, IPL 2014: Rajasthan Royals win by 4 wickets against Sunrisers Hyderabad

11 possible causes of coughing up blood

Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) vs Rajasthan Royals (RR), Score Update: Rajasthan win by 4 wickets

Why is Boman Irani happy for Jolly LLB’s National Film Award?

Kumar Vishwas booked in Amethi

Samsung Galaxy K Zoom’s camera sample surfaces online

Also on