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Day-night Test still on the cards - CA

Brydon Coverdale

March 10, 2014

Comments: 21 | Text size: A | A

Chris Lynn revived a poor start with a half-century, Queensland v Western Australia, Sheffield Shield, Brisbane, 1st day, March 3, 2014
Chris Lynn said he had trouble picking up the seam of the pink ball © Getty Images

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

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Posted by Kernas on (March 12, 2014, 11:46 GMT)

Sutherland wants it and he doesn't care what the players think of it. I've heard him and some of the other CA cronies. They will make it happen regardless of negative feedback.

Posted by   on (March 11, 2014, 6:31 GMT)

Can see both sides of the argument, but I like the fact Australia is taking a bit of a lead on something that may prove to draw bigger crowds overseas. We have no drama getting big crowds here for England/SA/India, but do you see the MCG being packed for a test against Bangladesh? That's an area they need to improve on if the ICC is serious about getting these associate and non-test playing nations up on the same level as the big 3 or 4. I can't see the harm in it if they can get the ball right, it would be great to catch a night session of a test, day 5, going down to the'd just leave work and head there to catch the last 2 hours. Brilliant. To the traditionalists, test crowds have been great here recently, but only because of the calibre of opposition, we can't stick our head in the sand while test cricket dies overseas, or we will run out of oppenents and just play England and India on rotation, and that would get old quick.

Posted by Little_Aussie_Battler on (March 11, 2014, 4:28 GMT)

Watched some of the pink ball Shield games on the CA streams. Mostly, I managed to pick it up via some pretty average cameras they put on, so that is a positive and I get colour blindness too.

White balls would be better, but their problem is they just do not last and get covered in grass stains after 30 overs and look green. If they did not use leather, or they could use multiple balls is the only way white could work.

Day/night tests outside the holiday periods would help that format enormously because it would allow the worker's to actually see some cricket rather than only see the scores or hear the radio on the drive home.

It does need further work to improve it even more but against the second tier test match nations, why not use it?

Posted by wellrounded87 on (March 11, 2014, 1:56 GMT)

It would be nice to see the issue of stadium commercialisation addressed rather than try to mutate test cricket into a freak show spectacle. Nothing wrong with test cricket, but spending an entire day at a stadium designed to maximise profits and minimise comfort isn't very appealing to most people. Especially at the ridiculous gate prices and food/bev costs that are coupled with ridiculous restrictions at a lot of test grounds these days.

Posted by   on (March 11, 2014, 0:03 GMT)

I was at the Adelaide Oval for one of the night sessions and I can safely say that it was difficult to see the ball on the pitch. Once it was hit away on to the grass it was much easier to spot so I wouldn't say the Adelaide Oval ball shone bright!

Posted by Barnesy4444 on (March 10, 2014, 23:33 GMT)

Please just leave test cricket alone. Muck around with the 50 and 20 over game as much as you want.

We still get good crowds for tests in Australia and I don't see how day night tests will increase spectators by that much.

If countries such as SAf want more people to watch tests in their country maybe they should trial it..............

Posted by dunger.bob on (March 10, 2014, 23:21 GMT)

@ TomPow : "Why not use the red ball when you can and the white ball at night?" Unfortunately it's not that simple mate. The problem is twofold. Firstly, the white ball just isn't as tough as the red ball and simply won't last 80 overs. They get discoloured and tend to become the same colour as the pitch after about 40 overs which is clearly advantage bowler. That's why they use 2 white balls in OD cricket. .. The second problem is that the white ball actually behaves differently to the red ball. I don't think anyone knows precisely why, but it does seem to be the case. The white ball tends to swing more. Especially reverse swing. .. We need a ball that's going to last it's 80 overs and be visible day and night. .. It's a real problem.

Posted by   on (March 10, 2014, 22:26 GMT)

No night test matches for me. I love test cricket, but it is a day game. It is a tradition and works perfectly well.

Posted by bren19 on (March 10, 2014, 22:20 GMT)

I just watched some of the best test cricket that I have ever seen between Australia and South Africa. Hard fought contest, great aggression and skill shown by both teams. It really went down to the wire. I do note that it all happened during the day. Why change it? If you want test cricket to fly again, then put the money into developing the teams and players, not the ball and lights. If you have weak opposition, people wont want to see the match - night or day.

Posted by AlSmug on (March 10, 2014, 19:37 GMT)

Good to hear progress is not to far away. If we leave test cricket as it is it will die, outside england and Australia crowds are low . In sth africa its spot someone in the crowd the same goes for nz, crowd numbers in tests are also shrinking in othe nations, we ed bums on seats and crowds increasing. Night test gives the opportunity for people to go to a game after work,we need to save the long term future of test cricket which entails all cricketing nations having this format as the pinnacle of the sport

Posted by DauD_ on (March 10, 2014, 15:58 GMT)

How about we just LEAVE TEST CRICKET AS IT IS. The ICC can play around with ODI's and T20's as much as they want, but please for the sake of all true cricket fans stop ruining Test cricket.

This will be the end of cricket,

Posted by Jagger on (March 10, 2014, 10:59 GMT)

Maybe black stitching would contrast better with pink?

Posted by   on (March 10, 2014, 10:51 GMT)

I reckon this whole thing is ridiculous, personally. Why change Test cricket? We've had some crackers of matches lately (Australia vs. England, NZ vs. India, SA vs. India etc.), and I for one would hate to see the traditional game die a slow death. Sure, trial the day-night matches, but if players are having difficulties in picking up the balls, then don't use them, or at least use them sparingly until better ones become available.

Posted by KeithMillersHair on (March 10, 2014, 10:19 GMT)

I wonder if you could have a different color seam to make it more visible. The white seam is obviously clearly visible on a red ball, and the black seam seems to show up fine on the white balls. Perhaps for a pink ball you could use a bright blue seam, or something similar.

Posted by Green_and_Gold on (March 10, 2014, 9:44 GMT)

@Cerb Erusk - i think its more about seeing the ball, where the white ball great at night (contrast against a black sky) players (i think) say that its harder to see in the day (compared to a red ball). I also think that the white ball discolours quickly too. They are trying to find a colour that can be seen in both lighting conditions and pink seems to be the winner.

Posted by TomPow on (March 10, 2014, 9:34 GMT)

Why not use the red ball when you can and the white ball at night? AND if there is rain forecast, for, say the morning, then you can move the day back a few hours and vice versa. Not to mention it would bring better crowds at night because everyones knocked of from work.

Posted by Naresh28 on (March 10, 2014, 9:00 GMT)

GREAT IDEA!!!! If you make two tier prices for Day and Evening tickets it could work out. With some good lighting, pink balls and a better evening crowd.

Posted by   on (March 10, 2014, 8:33 GMT)

Why not improve the white ball so it lasts 90 overs?

Posted by IndianInnerEdge on (March 10, 2014, 7:11 GMT)

Good 2 see at least some Cric board taking the lead, hope more nations follow. TC is the pinnacle and definately needs some tweaking. The only way TC can move forward is because of such innovations. Somewhere somewhow they will work out the dew factor, the visibility factor as day night tests are the future to get the office/college/school going crowds in. Kudos to CA for doing this......if day night test become a reality, I for one would surely be queing up to catch the action......more power to day night tests!

Posted by   on (March 10, 2014, 5:56 GMT)

@BradmanBestEver, if that was the case mate, then a lot more players would've said so, there's no point in not coming out considering it'll affect your performance, I went down to Adelaide oval for an hour on thursday just when the sun started to go down, so probably one of the worst times of the day & you could see the ball fine.. I think the issue is it has quite similar traits to the white ball being very plastic looking, so like they mentioned it goes softer a lot quicker & when the pink scrubs off, it can be hard to see, with all the technology they have these, surely it can't be that hard to just dye the red leather a bright pink before it's wrapped around the core & thus it shouldn't really change that much.. oh well, fingers crossed it gets better, would love to see a Day Night test here! :)

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (March 10, 2014, 4:15 GMT)

Crikey Chris Lynn has been eating his carrots!

I reckon most would have trouble picking up the ball let alone the seam on the ball

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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