England captain Joe Root and his South African counterpart Faf du Plessis have both backed five-day tests, despite their cricket boards advocating for a reduction to four-day games in the future.
England beat South Africa by 189 runs in the second test at Newlands on Tuesday to level the four-match series at 1-1 after the hosts lasted almost 138 overs in their second innings, but could not see out eight more that would have earned them a draw.
The match went into the last hour of the fifth day, providing drama aplenty in Cape Town after both sides had toiled hard in search of their desired results.
“I like five-day test cricket. I’ll leave at that, otherwise I’ll get in trouble,” Root told reporters in the wake of the thrilling Newlands win.
Du Plessis was more forthcoming on a day in which Cricket South Africa sent out a statement in which they officially backed the plan four-day tests.
“I am a fan of test cricket going five days,” he said. “The great draws of the game always go to five days.
“I’m not speaking about the other stuff that comes to four-day cricket. I understand there is a lot of money being burned on five-day cricket because a lot of games are not going to the fifth day.
“There will always be an opinion on both sides, but I am still a purist of the game and have been part of some great draws that went five days.
“There would definitely not have been a result in four days on the wicket we have just played on now.”
The International Cricket Council is set to discuss the idea of making tests four-day games to ease a crammed international calendar and reduce player workload.
England have said they will support the idea after 2023, Australia are to give serious consideration to the plan, while South Africa have already made up their minds.
“Cricket South Africa’s official policy to support four-day Test match cricket,” CSA said in a statement on Tuesday.
The powerful Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has yet to offer an opinion, but India captain Virat Kohli said he was totally against the plan.
“I am not a fan,” Kohli told reporters. “I think the intent will not be right then because then you will speak of three-day tests, I mean where do you end?
“Then you will speak of test cricket disappearing. I don’t endorse that at all.”