Pakistan batsman Azhar Ali has said his side is excited about the opportunity to take part in a day-night Test for the first time, a sentiment echoed by West Indies batsman Darren Bravo in Dubai less than 48 hours before the first Test in the three-match series kicks off under the lights at Dubai Sports City.
"Obviously it's different. It's a first game for us with a pink ball and it's a day-night game," Azhar said at a press conference in Dubai on Tuesday. "We played one or two games, players have had experience with the pink ball in the domestic circuit but internationally it's the first game. It's a different challenge but we're all excited about it and I think it will be very exciting for the crowd as well to come and watch this game.
"I think the game is important but we had enough time in the middle. We had five to six sessions with the pink ball. The players also played in the first-class final and a few other games. They do have a little experience of that as well. We have been practising really hard and have had quite long sessions, so I think we have enough idea of this ball."
Though reviews from players have mostly been positive regarding the overall visibility of the ball during night-time training sessions, Azhar said one issue that had popped up was the ability to recognise the seam of the ball, in part because it is black on the pink ball whereas the seam is white on a red ball. Azhar felt it may pose a slight advantage for spin bowlers.
"The seam is different," Azhar said. "It's hard to see the seam, especially with the spinners. You can't really spot the seam. It's a different challenge and we will get to know it better as we play more."
Bravo also said players from the West Indies had similar experiences with picking the seam, both in some first-class matches played in the West Indies last season as well as during the three-day warm-up match that concluded on Sunday.
"I think most of the guys have complained about the fact that they're not really able to pick up the seam that well," Bravo said. "I don't know for whatever reason but we can't do anything about it. It is what it is and we need to accept the challenge as quickly as possible and just go out there and give it our best shot."
The West Indies batsman also stated that, despite some reservations about playing at night with a pink ball, he maintained a positive outlook for the concept, especially if it can help revitalise crowd numbers in places where attendances have been on the decline.
"We played a couple first-class [day-night] games back home," Bravo said. "It had a few crowds. Most of the guys had their take on it. It had some positive feedback, it had some negative feedback to be honest but whatever is put in place to encourage a crowd is definitely beneficial to Test cricket."