Located in Bloemfontein, capital of Free State province, Mangaung Oval is a spectator-friendly ground, with the sizeable grass embankment on the eastern side especially popular with spectators. It is part of a wonderful sporting complex, covering a massive city block that includes facilities of either international or provincial standard for athletics, rugby, hockey, cricket, tennis and swimming.
The ground has been used for limited-overs internationals since the fifth one-day international between South Africa and India in December 1992. The pitch is recognised as a good one-day wicket and is usually conducive to high scoring.
It hosted its first Test in October 1999 when South Africa took on Zimbabwe. It was a good start for the Proteas as they thrashed SA’s northern neighbours by an innings and 13 runs.
Mangaung Oval (previously known as Chevrolet Park, OUTsurance Oval and Goodyear Park) used to be known as Springbok Park before the commercial expediency to appease its sponsors forced a change. It is one of the newer grounds in South Africa and hence is better designed and more spacious- it can accommodate 20,000 spectators.
The ground played its part in South African Test history when, fittingly, Allan Donald, who, as Free State cricketer played for many years here, became the first South African to capture 300 test wickets, during the first Test against New Zealand in November 2000.
One of the greatest innings ever played occurred early in 1994 when the former South African captain Hansie Cronje smashed 251 against the touring Australians, hitting 28 fours and six sixes.
It boasts some of the best lights in the country and is regularly used for day/night matches, when the grassy banks become colourfully filled with spectators and a carnival atmosphere prevails. It is just 10 minutes walk from the city centre, with Bloemfontein coach station adjacent to the ground.