South Africa had beaten Australia in the first ever Test between the two countries in 1994 © Getty Images


By Fakir Hassen


Johannesburg: March 1, 2014


The third and deciding Test between South Africa and the visiting Australian team is being celebrated as an ideal opportunity to mark the Rainbow Nation’s two-decade-old freedom.


Twenty years ago, late Nelson Mandela became the first democratically-elected president of South Africa after nearly 50 years of apartheid.


“I consider this third and final Test match between South Africa and Australia, the two best Test playing nations in the world, an ideal opportunity for further international exposure of our significant milestone and positioning South Africa as a great country, and one of the best destinations for major international sport events,” said Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula.


The event provides a unique setting for millions of cricket fans across the world to join in a celebration “not only of our freedom and democracy but also in unity and friendship across the world”, he said.


“It also affords South Africa an opportunity to express its deepest appreciation and sincerest gratitude to Australia for its staunch support during our long struggle against apartheid,” Mbalula added.


The match is historic since it was on March 8, 1994 that South Africa beat Australia in the first Test played by the two countries at Wanderers in Johannesburg after the readmission of the Proteas into the international sporting arena, said Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive Haroon Lorgat.


“CSA is indeed greatly honoured to be able to play a significant role in the celebration of 20 years of our country’s young democracy,” he said.


“During this time sport has played a meaningful role to unify and uplift our nation. This Test match between arguably the two best teams in the world will continue our contribution to this process.”


Former and current cricket players, including Gary Kirsten, Peter Kirsten, Paul Adams and Monde Zondeki, will coach 150 underprivileged school children.


Three hundred others will get an opportunity to attend the Test match on Day 4 and 5.