While the United Kingdom has Boxing Day football, South Africa has Boxing Day cricket. Since readmission, the Proteas have played 26 Tests on 26 December, five of those away from home.
Australia and South Africa used to exchange hosting honours for the headline Test match, until both decided that they’d prefer to keep the festive season crowds to themselves.
Durban has hosted more Boxing Day Tests than any other ground (14) and earned a reputation of being somewhat of a cursed outing for The Proteas after a wretched run of results from 2009 to 2011, where South Africa lost all three of the Boxing Day Tests played at Kingsmead.
But, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, South Africa does have a very decent Boxing Day Test record overall.
They’ve won 12, drawn seven and lost seven of all their Boxing Day fixtures with two of those losses coming away from home in Australia. Kingsmead has witnessed four losses and Port Elizabeth (in 2008 vs the West Indies) was the other venue of defeat.
South Africa’s Boxing Day Test record
Figures since readmission.
It will only be the second time ever that Centurion hosts the Boxing Day jamboree, having done so for the first time in 2018. South Africa beat Pakistan by six wickets then.
A rather curious quirk from South Africa’s Boxing Day Tests is that they have won and lost the toss on 13 occasions each. Overall, they’ve also won six Tests when winning and losing the toss.
Out of their seven losses overall, they’ve won the toss four times and lost it on three occasions.
South Africa’s Boxing Day Test record when winning and losing the toss
Figures since readmission, includes home and away matches.
The Proteas head into the series following a series of off-field administrative disasters, which culminated in Cricket South Africa’s CEO Thabang Moroe being suspended.
Since then, a string of changes to the backroom staff has ignited a slight glimmer of hope among some fans, but many believe the team’s heady days of retiring English captains for fun is long since behind them.