Few spectators to witness pink ball experiment
Glamorgan 2 for 0 v Kent 237
History was made in Canterbury as floodlit championship cricket with a pink ball came to the St Lawrence ground for the first time - only for the ECB's great and the good to all but out number the crowd.
When a distinctly chilly set of players left the ground at 9pm, Glamorgan had reached two without loss after five overs having spent the best part of three sessions in dismissing Kent for 237.
With little riding on the result, the ECB's hasty decision to play this end-of-term second division clash under lights and using pink balls may have seemed a reasonable one, but the Kentish public seemingly voted with their feet. Barely 300 turned up for the opening day of a fixture that might usually attract 1,000-plus, yet the committee room appeared full with visiting administrators.
"I don't see any rhyme or reason to it," said one Kent member trudging out of the ground at a usual finish time of 6pm; "It feels like we're being used as lab rats."
Former ICC president and ex-ECB chairman, David Morgan, was among the ECB delegation casting an eye over this experimental game, that will see a pink Tiflex ball used in both first innings, followed by a Kookaburra version second time around.
"I know it's not the case for all counties, but some clubs would love to play day/night first-class championship cricket," Morgan said. "We are here to see if we can give them an element of choice. We will have to gauge the opinion of the players and the umpires as the game progresses and see where we go from here."
As for the players, in-form Kent opener Joe Denly, fresh from 199 in Derby last week, was seeing it like a football from the start, a pink football that is, as his 69 from 130-ball underpinned the Kent total. "I picked the pink ball up really well from ball one," said Denly, whose two-and-a-half hour stay included six fours.
"The first delivery from Graham Wagg swung in plenty, but after that, it did nothing. Yes, it turned early on, but it was really slow turn. The major thing for me was that the ball lost its brightness really quickly. If they continue to use this ball I would think they will be changing it fairly frequently."
Only 14 overs into a blustery opening session Glamorgan turned to spin at both ends and reaped an immediate benefit when Dan Cosker trapped Daniel Bell-Drummond leg before with his first delivery.
By lunch Kent had lost four as Sam Northeast and Alex Blake both paid the price for indeterminate strokes against left-arm spinner Nick James while Darren Stevens mistimed a cut against Graham Wagg straight to point.
After indifferent first-session batting, Denly finally found a willing partner in acting captain Geraint Jones who hit 48 for his part in a stand worth 59 only for Denly to be undone by a useful delivery from John Glover. Azhar Mahmood's decision to shoulder arms to the same bowler also proved fatal and once Jones followed suit, to go two short of his half- century, Kent simply unravelled to post only two batting bonus points.
With only a handful of spectators still around to watch, Glamorgan played out four maidens through to stumps and will go into day two trailing by 235.