Pink cherry on Nathan Lyon's bat
Nathan Lyon has revealed the Hot spot viewed by television viewers around the world was mirrored by a bright pink cherry on the edge of his bat, further heightening the sense of disbelief that surrounded his DRS reprieve in the inaugural day-night Test against New Zealand at Adelaide Oval.
At the moment Brendon McCullum referred the decision, Lyon was in a mid-pitch conversation with his batting partner Peter Nevill, and the appearance of a new mark on his bat confirmed his suspicions he had hit the ball. When he saw the Hot spot appear on the replay screen on Adelaide's scoreboard hill, Lyon started walking.
But an excruciatingly long period followed, as the third umpire Nigel Llong could not bring himself to decide that Lyon had hit the ball. Some five minutes passed before Llong finally handed the decision back to the on-field umpire S Ravi, who reiterated his earlier verdict of not out. Llong was not aware that Lyon had walked most of the way off the field.
Lyon returned before the decision was final, judging that he was going to be given not out when Llong asked for the use of ball tracking to determine if there was any possibility of an lbw decision. Lyon instantly noted that the screen had also showed the wrong ball, a result of Llong not giving the technology operators, Eagle Eye, enough time to cue up the correct delivery.
"What are you doing," Nevill had asked Lyon when he returned to the pitch. "They're not going to give this out," Lyon replied.
The episode diverted much attention from the overall success of the inaugural pink-ball Test, though Lyon said there remained a few more kinks to be ironed out of long-form floodlit cricket before it becomes a regular fixture. His major worry was the invisibility of the seam, which may have been a help for spin bowlers but was a consistent challenge for batsmen in a low-scoring affair.
"It's an unbelievable concept … but I still believe and I still stand here and say the pink ball needs to improve," Lyon said. "You still can't see the seam on it even on HD on Channel Nine you couldn't see the seam. It really puts it in perspective that the seam really does need to stick out for cricketers."
As for the floating of the concept for four-day Tests, a notion backed by the coach Darren Lehmann this week, Lyon was similarly sceptical. "I'm not a fan of the four day Test matches," he said. "I think at Test match cricket you test yourself at the highest level and that's when you go the five days and you win the Test match in the last hour of the last day. That's when you really get a big enjoyment out of it and that's when you test yourself to the top level."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig