St George's Park History
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

The Matches St George's Park - The Black Rebels
The Black Rebels
Andre Erasmus

Rebel cricket mania continued in the 1982/83 season with the Sri Lankans and West Indians visiting South Africa.

The fact that both teams were "black" was a telling blow for the anti-South African lobby. And the fact that the Arosa Sri Lankan side were not that strong did not matter. Their visit was historic.

It was the first time a black team from a Test playing country had visited South Africa.

The fact that the Sri Lankans were warmly received and had a trouble-free tour helped, in part, in getting Lawrence Rowe's West Indian side out here later in the season even though it was another cloak-and-dagger operation getting the tourists to South Africa.

In Sri Lanka, Saturday, October l6, normal domestic matches started, but by the next day, some of their key players in these games were missing. They had flown to Hong Kong and then on to Johannesburg via Taipei.

Even though the touring party included only five fully-fledged Test players, the Sri Lankans proved popular and charming tourists wherever they went. Unfortunately, due to their disappointing performances on the field, the crowd attendances were poor.

The tourists lost both four-day internationals and all four one-day encounters, their real weakness being their bowling.

After drawing with Eastern Province in November, the Sri Lankans returned to St George's Park in December for a one-day international.

Off 55 overs, the Sri Lankans made 276 with A N Ranasinghe notching their first century of the tour, making 100 before falling to Garth Ie Roux.

South Africa responded with centuries from Lawrence Seeff (142) and Peter Kirsten (100) to win by six wickets.

In bidding farewell to the Sri Lankans after the last four day Test in Johannesburg, Sacu's Joe Pamensky said the tour would prove to be a notable milestone in the history of South African cricket. It was notable in that a black team played against a white team in Test matches.

It was a milestone, too, because three months later another, far stronger, black team would land on our shores.

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