Oz, South Africa to play each other annually

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Cape Town (South Africa), Mar.16 (ANI): Australia will play South Africa every summer under plans being negotiated by the two cricket boards, but in future the visitors will never be seen at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Boxing Day.

The teams will play a three-Test series in one country one year and a one-day series in the alternate country the next, the Daily Telegraph reports.

South Africa's desire to host cricket on Boxing Day every second year has been an issue in the discussions and means it will almost be impossible to schedule four Test series.

There were reports yesterday in local papers that the two sides would play a four-Test series and then a five one day series every alternate summer, but The Daily Telegraph understands four Tests are unlikely.

Cricket Australia refused to comment on any specifics of the deal yesterday, but chief executive officer James Sutherland said he and Cricket South Africa's Gerald Majola were close to finalising the plan for the summers following the end of the Future Tours Program (FTP) in 2012.

"We are certainly well advanced and both Gerald and I like the idea of splitting the Test and one day series and having home and away summers," Sutherland said.

"The two sides are very competitive and the public enjoys their contests. We have long had concerns about playing the two three-Test series back to back as this means the two countries only play every four years and it is jammed into a three-month period."

Majola said he was keen on the principal of the idea.

"It will mean our countries will play more regularly against each other, instead of only every four years and we will be able to concentrate on one form of cricket at a time," he said.

Cricket Australia is negotiating bi-lateral arrangements with all countries after Sutherland's idea of a Test Championship to replace the FTP was rejected by the International Cricket Council. (ANI)

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