Newlands hosted its first test match in March 1889, only five years after test cricket was first played at Lords. Not even a country at the time, South Africa had started its journey towards becoming one of the great cricketing nations. Australia’s first visit to South Africa (1902 - 1903) witnessed a historic six matches, including three Test Matches at Newlands. The Australians proved a big attraction at Newlands drawing an estimated crowd of 10,000 - easily a record at the time.
England won at Newlands in 1889, 1892, 1896, 1899 and 1906. South Africa finally turned the tables in the second of two tests played at Newlands in 1906, with another win in 1910. The home fans then had to wait 60 years before the next victory at Newlands against Bill Lawry’s 1970 Australians.
While Newlands rich history is peppered with exceptional cricket memories, it was also blemished by colonial and apartheid mentalities, which meant that for many years, only white cricketers could play at Newlands for Western Province or South Africa. A new era of modern cricket was ushered in with the collapse of apartheid and the birth of a new South African democracy in the early 1990s. With South Africa officially joining the international cricket community, a new world opened up for local fans as India—with its little magician Tendulkar— Pakistan, West Indies, Sri Lanka and other countries made their debuts at Newlands. The dawn of this new era also marked the start of a winning streak for South Africa at Newlands in both formats of international cricket, with SA winning 18 out of 26 tests and 25 out of 30 ODIs played at Newlands between 1991 and 2014. T20 cricket arrived in the 2000s. A new naming sponsor, Sahara, meant the ground was renamed Sahara Park Newlands in 2004. Local cricket fans were thrilled when Newlands was selected to host four major international tournaments, namely the 2003 ICC World Cup, the 2007 ICC World T20 championship, the 2009 Indian Premier League and the 2010 Champions League, including the opening ceremonies of the World Cup and IPL.
After 51 tests and 35 ODIs in 127 years, Sahara Park Newlands is global cricket brand in its own right and a favourite amongst cricket fans around the world. The Annual New Year’s Address celebrates the Newlands legacy and acts as a platform for discussion about the game and its future.
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