SLC declines PCB's offer to play day-night Test
Test cricket will continue to await its first day-night encounter after Sri Lanka's team management declined Pakistan's proposal to play a day-night Test during their year-end tour to the UAE. Sri Lanka Cricket cited its players' lack of practice with the pink ball as the source of their reluctance.
"Since the national team players have not practiced under lights and with the new pink ball, the executive committee decided to stand by the decision taken by the national team management, to inform PCB that SLC is not willing to play a day-night Test match as requested by PCB," a SLC release said.
SLC president, Jayantha Dharmadasa, had been positively disposed to the idea of Sri Lanka being part of the first day-night Test, but others closer to the team had strong reservations. The series against Pakistan will be Sri Lanka's first Test outing against a top-eight opposition in almost a year, and SLC's decision is understood to have also been influenced by their desire to safeguard their team's chances in an important series.
PCB spokesman Nadeem Sarwar had told ESPNcricinfo that the PCB's interest in pioneering day-night Tests was grounded in an attempt to revive interest in the longest format. "The major aspect in our discussion with SLC is the correspondence on the colour and brand of the ball. The venues are definitely ideal and there is no dew factor involved in December and January," Sarwar had said.
MCC has trialled day-night first-class matches, with a view to fine-tuning the colour and characteristics of the ball in order to make it fit for international cricket. Day-night Tests are not only likely to stoke viewer interest in the format, but as a result, the matches are also expected to be more lucrative for broadcasters and advertisers. Last year, the ICC approved day-night Tests, but left it to member boards to agree on the hours of play, and the colour and brand of the ball. Only the PCB has so far shown interest in playing day-night Tests. It has also experimented with day-night long-form cricket twice by playing the first-class Quaid-e-Azam trophy final in January 2011 and December 2011 under lights with an orange ball.
Sri Lanka's tour of Pakistan begins in December, and comprises of two Twenty20s, five ODIs and three Tests. Either Abu Dhabi or Dubai would have hosted the day-night Test, if SLC had agreed to it.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here