Sutherland questions bad light call
James Sutherland, the Cricket Australia chief executive, has questioned the bad light call that ended day two of the first Test against New Zealand at 4.38pm local time with blue sky still visible above the Gabba.
A crowd of 11,103 and a far larger television audience was staggered when the umpires Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf led the players from the field, ostensibly because their light meters were showing the same reading that had called play off early on day one minutes before a storm engulfed the ground.
Rauf told ABC radio that "it looks brighter than yesterday but we have to follow the light meter", but Sutherland was as miffed as many other observers and said the decision had shown little regard for spectators, who seem less likely to support Test cricket the more often such decisions are made. Sutherland said: "Cricket needs to be looking after fans as our first priority, we need to work harder to give them more, not less".
A CA spokesman said Sutherland also intended to take the matter further.
"James Sutherland intends to take up the 'bad light' issue with the ICC, and will argue that cricket needs to take better care of putting fans first," the spokesman said. "Sutherland has spoken to the match referee [Andy Pycroft] tonight to understand bad light decision, respects their decision but wants ICC review."
Nathan Lyon, the Australian offspinner, said there was frustration among the players as well as spectators under current regulations that take the matter of bad light out of the hands of the two teams and entirely at the discretion of the umpires.
"It's certainly frustrating that's for sure," he said. "But saying that it is difficult to pick the ball up, especially when it is overcast and it is dark and I know it's frustrating for all the players. But it comes down to players' safety and at the end of the day it is only cricket, but certainly frustrating."
New Zealand's spinner Daniel Vettori reckoned there would always be complaints about bad light, irrespective of who had the power to decide on continuing play.
"When it was the other way people complained about that, now it's this way people complain about this, it's just the way it is," he said. "They set a number for the game yesterday and it reached that, so they have to be consistent. It is different when you're fielding to when you're batting, so yesterday it got really dark and it got tough to see, if the light was exactly the same as that it would've been tough to see."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo