Cricket: England's ordeal

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England's cricketers face a demanding schedule of five Tests followed by seven one- day internationals when they tour South Africa in 1995-96.

The United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) announced the tour itinerary yesterday. It includes South Africa's first five-Test series since their return to international cricket in 1991.

There are five warm-up matches before the first Test starts in Pretoria on 16 November. The fifth Test, in Cape Town at the start of January, is followed by seven consecutive one-day games as both teams prepare for the World Cup, which is due to start in India and Pakistan in early February.

Alan Smith, the chief executive of the Test and County Cricket Board, said: 'The two Boards see this tour as unique in having two distinct parts. While the one-day series will carry the usual prestige, both teams will regard this as an ideal preparation for the World Cup, which follows immediately after the end of the tour.

ENGLAND TOUR TO SOUTH AFRICA (1995/96) Itinerary: 24 Oct Nicky Oppenheimer XI (Randjesfontein). 25 Oct Eastern Transvaal (day / night, Springs). 27-30 Oct South Africa Invitation XI (Soweto). 2-5 Nov Border (East London). 9-12 Nov South Africa A (Kimberley). 16-20 Nov FIRST TEST (Pretoria). 23-26 Nov Orange Free State (Bloemfontein). 30 Nov-4 Dec SECOND TEST (Johannesburg).

7-10 Dec Boland (Paarl). 14-18 Dec THIRD TEST (Durban). 20-22 Dec Combined SA Universities (Chatsworth, Durban). 26-30 Dec FOURTH TEST (Port Elizabeth). 2-6 Jan FIFTH TEST (Cape Town). 9 Jan South Africa (day / night, Cape Town). 11 Jan South Africa (day / night, Bloemfontein). 13 Jan South Africa (Johannesburg). 14 Jan South Africa (Pretoria). 17 Jan South Africa (day / night, Durban). 19 Jan South Africa (day / night, East London). 21 South Africa (Port Elizabeth).