South Africa v/s Zimbabwe four-day Test: Rules and everything else you need to know

All you need to know about the four-day test match to be played between South Africa and Zimbabwe starting Tuesday.

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Normally a Test match involving South Africa and Zimbabwe will not generate much anticipation in the cricketing world. However, when South Africa and Zimbabwe lock horns starting Tuesday in an one-off day-night affair, everybody will be watching. It will be the first four-day Test match to be played since 1973. 

Until then, Test matches were played over varying numbers of days, from three to six - and on a number of occasions were “timeless”, played over an unlimited number of days until a result was achieved.

AB de Villiers will make a long-awaited return to Test cricket, while Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel are all back from lengthy injuries for South Africa. 

The match will be staged under experimental playing conditions. The International Cricket Council gave permission to Cricket South Africa to stage a four-day Test. There are several variations from standard Test playing conditions.

Here is all you need to know about the four-day test format:

# Play will be scheduled for six-and-a-half hours each day, half an hour more than in five-day games.

# 98 overs will be to be bowled in a day, instead of the usual 90.

# As in five-day games, an extra half hour can be added in order to complete the overs.

# The first two sessions of play will be two hours 15 minutes each, instead of two hours, with a 20-minute tea break instead of a lunch break after the first session. There will be a 40-minute dinner break after the second session.

# There is no provision for time lost to be carried over to subsequent days.

# The follow-on can be enforced with a lead of 150 runs, compared to 200 runs in five-day games.

# Play will start at 1.30 p.m. (local time) each day. The sunset in Port Elizabeth will be between 7.30 p.m. and 7.31p.m. on the four days of the match, half an hour into the last session. 

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