South Africa in Australia, 2012-13

Hussey, Petersen not keen on night Tests

Daniel Brettig

October 31, 2012

Comments: 4 | Text size: A | A

The new lights at Bellerive Oval for the ground's first day-night international, Australia v West Indies, 1st Twenty20, Hobart, February 21, 2010
Day/night Test matches remain humbugged by issues surrounding the ball © Getty Images
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Soon to be opponents in the series between Australia and South Africa, Michael Hussey and Alviro Petersen were united in their hesitance about the introduction of day/night Test matches following the ICC's inclusion of the format in their revised playing conditions.

The change to ICC regulations now means that a day/night Test may be played at any time should the two opposing countries agree to do so.

However it was made despite continued problems with the development of a suitable ball, following trials of various colours and manufacturers that date back to the use of yellow and orange balls in day/night Sheffield Shield matches in the mid-1990s.

Hussey took part in those games at the start of his career, and said he was concerned that by starting a game in the afternoon and stretching it into night conditions would be so uneven as to imbalance the contest between bat and ball.

"I'm not a fan of night Tests. I love Test match cricket how it is," Hussey said in Melbourne. "I'm just worried that by playing night Test matches, sometimes there can be too much of an advantage depending on batting under lights or batting in the daytime.

"Having played quite a few day-night Shield games earlier in my career I did notice a big difference in batting in the daytime compared to batting at night time. I would hate a Test match to be decided by a team unluckily having to bat at the most difficult time. For me personally I would prefer to keep day Test matches."

The two balls used in Shield matches were yellow, then orange, and Hussey recalled that both had their problems. "I started with a yellow ball, which I thought was okay, but in places like Sydney it did get a bit hard to see," Hussey said. "The orange ball was a bit like a comet. That was not ideal as well, and I found that at night time it really went around corners. I haven't really tried the pink ball but I believe that's the next one they're trialling, so we'll have to wait and see."

Petersen's perspective on the issue is more recent, having played for Glamorgan against Kent last year in a day/night county fixture that tested pink balls made by Kookaburra and Tiflex. In this case Petersen reported that the balls were unable to last the 80-over distance required, losing hardness and shape.

"I'm sure from a spectator point of view it would be quite nice but I think they're still having problems with finding the right ball, a suitable ball for it," Petersen said. "We'll see how it goes, and at the moment we leave it up to the ICC.

"It's new territory, I played in it last year when Glamorgan played Kent in an official first-class game under lights, I think we changed the ball about four times. From a player's point of view it gets quite cold in the evenings but it was quite enjoyable.

"We've used a Kookaburra and we've used a Tiflex as well, and both of them didn't really last long, so we're not sure."

The players' preferences may become more problematic should television broadcasters start pressing for the scheduling of day/night Tests given the potential rewards in terms of audience sizes.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by   on (October 31, 2012, 17:54 GMT)

Why dont we just leave the Great Game alone. I am tired of all the experimentations with the game. LetTest Cricket be Test Cricket. It is not Football, Baseball. Tennis ect. It is Test Cricket. Please, Please let the game be . I implore you all do All your experimenting with the so called other formats. Please leave Test Cricket.

Posted by sk12 on (October 31, 2012, 16:53 GMT)

cool photo there, with the burnign yellow clouds glittering high above contrast with lush green field. Just one look and we instantly know its not anywhere in India. we never have such clean transparent air. with all the dust and pollution its always hazy and we just dont get such pure unihibited views, even though the settings are pretty much the same.

Posted by Selassie-I on (October 31, 2012, 14:09 GMT)

I'm all for day/nighters, much bigger TV audiences, but surely we must have a ball that can last around 100 overs at least, just in case teams don't want to take the NB straight off.

Posted by AzAb12754 on (October 31, 2012, 13:05 GMT)

That may work in subcontinent and possibly Africa, the Caribbean and New Zealand but I doubt it will succeed in places like England and Australia.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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