Durban the venue of decider between Windies and Proteas

Two battered and weary cricket teams will be making their way to Durban this week for the third and final Castle Lager Test between South Africa and the West Indies.

The match will take place at Kingsmead, starting on Thursday, to determine the winner of the three-match series.

South Africa levelled the series on Saturday by beating the West Indies by seven wickets with a day to spare in the second Test, after a thrilling match in which fortunes fluctuated and control swung from side to side.

Both teams would have been grateful for an extra day's rest after a very hard-fought match.

South Africa would have been particularly pleased that they wrapped the match up on Saturday, as Cape Town woke up to rain yesterday morning.

The villain in the match was the outfield, which was heavy and spongy.

Boundaries were hard to come by, particularly on the first two days, with balls that would normally have sped to the boundary trickling to a halt metres from the ropes.

The spongy outfield also took its toll on the players, with three - Chris Gayle and Fidel Edwards of the West Indies and South Africa's Dale Steyn - having to bat with runners after sustaining hamstring strains.

Perhaps the cruellest blow was to Neil McKenzie, who made a welcome return to the Test team after three-and-a-half years in the wilderness, only to suffer a grade two tear in his right calf muscle which will keep him out of cricket for up to six weeks.

The inspirational West Indies captain Gayle is also a doubtful starter for the third Test, after fracturing his left thumb. - Sapa