Day-night Test still on the cards - CA
Cricket Australia remains confident that a day-night Test against New Zealand in November 2015 will be feasible despite mixed reviews from players and coaches after a trial in last week's Sheffield Shield matches. Pink balls were used in games at the Gabba, Adelaide Oval and the MCG and while some positive feedback was received from players and fans, others voiced concerns over visibility and the quality of the balls.
Queensland batsman Chris Lynn said he struggled to see the white seam on the pink ball, which made it hard to pick swing and spin from the bowler's hand, and Victoria's captain Matthew Wade said he could not see day-night Test cricket happening quickly. The Victoria coach Greg Shipperd said from the rooms he found the ball difficult to see and it went too soft too soon, and the pink colour could scrape off the surface of the ball, leaving dark patches.
But Cricket Australia's general manager of cricket operations, Sean Cary, said he was confident that further work on developing the pink ball would allow Australia to host New Zealand for a historic day-night Test in 2015-16. He said Cricket Australia staff had surveyed fans at all three venues and found that there were some visibility issues at the Gabba, but the Adelaide Oval and MCG had been more successful.
"The fans were really excited in both Adelaide and Melbourne," Cary told ABC Grandstand on Saturday. "We had some mixed views from the Gabba. I'm not sure if the lighting at the Gabba is slightly different to Adelaide Oval and the MCG. Some of the fans, and I was one of those on one of the nights up there, actually found it a bit more difficult to pick the ball up from the stands. But from the MCG and Adelaide Oval the pink ball shone out beautifully.
"The fact that we had two matches go pretty much to the death-knock with very exciting finishes, batsmen scoring centuries, spinners taking wickets and fast bowlers taking wickets, we believe we created a balanced approach … we certainly had balls wearing differently across the three venues and pleasingly none of the balls fell apart."
Adelaide Oval looms as the most likely venue for the inaugural day-night Test, with the MCG and SCG not considered due to their traditional Boxing Day and New Year's matches, while the WACA would be unlikely given it is already in a time-zone that suits the broadcasters for eastern states prime time viewing. Hobart is another option and Cary said further trials next summer would include a match at Bellerive Oval.
"We'll have feedback for Kookaburra and hopefully they can continue to work on that pink ball and by November 2015 we should have a product that's ready for international cricket," he said. "We're certainly working towards that. Our friends across the ditch in New Zealand are very keen for every opportunity to create a day-night Test match.
"We'll have another opportunity in the summer of 2014-15 to continue the trial. Hopefully we'll be able to schedule it in the early rounds, in November, which is when Australia is scheduled to play New Zealand in the 2015 three-Test match series.
"I think our next step would be to try and get a day-night Shield match down in Hobart to see how that goes, and look at the Gabba and Adelaide Oval again ... Having just been to the three venues, I really found it a pleasant experience at both the MCG and Adelaide Oval.
"It was difficult to pick the pink ball up in Brisbane, it actually looked a little bit more orange than it did pink in Brisbane. So at this stage Adelaide Oval would be a great venue, but there's so many different factors that have to pass under the bridge before we decide which ground it could be held at."
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here