Hussey, Petersen not keen on night Tests

The new lights at Bellerive Oval for the ground's first day-night international Getty Images

Soon to be opponents in the series between Australia and South Africa, Michael Hussey and Alviro Petersen were united in their hesitance about the introduction of day/night Test matches following the ICC's inclusion of the format in their revised playing conditions.

The change to ICC regulations now means that a day/night Test may be played at any time should the two opposing countries agree to do so.

However it was made despite continued problems with the development of a suitable ball, following trials of various colours and manufacturers that date back to the use of yellow and orange balls in day/night Sheffield Shield matches in the mid-1990s.

Hussey took part in those games at the start of his career, and said he was concerned that by starting a game in the afternoon and stretching it into night conditions would be so uneven as to imbalance the contest between bat and ball.

"I'm not a fan of night Tests. I love Test match cricket how it is," Hussey said in Melbourne. "I'm just worried that by playing night Test matches, sometimes there can be too much of an advantage depending on batting under lights or batting in the daytime.

"Having played quite a few day-night Shield games earlier in my career I did notice a big difference in batting in the daytime compared to batting at night time. I would hate a Test match to be decided by a team unluckily having to bat at the most difficult time. For me personally I would prefer to keep day Test matches."

The two balls used in Shield matches were yellow, then orange, and Hussey recalled that both had their problems. "I started with a yellow ball, which I thought was okay, but in places like Sydney it did get a bit hard to see," Hussey said. "The orange ball was a bit like a comet. That was not ideal as well, and I found that at night time it really went around corners. I haven't really tried the pink ball but I believe that's the next one they're trialling, so we'll have to wait and see."

Petersen's perspective on the issue is more recent, having played for Glamorgan against Kent last year in a day/night county fixture that tested pink balls made by Kookaburra and Tiflex. In this case Petersen reported that the balls were unable to last the 80-over distance required, losing hardness and shape.

"I'm sure from a spectator point of view it would be quite nice but I think they're still having problems with finding the right ball, a suitable ball for it," Petersen said. "We'll see how it goes, and at the moment we leave it up to the ICC.

"It's new territory, I played in it last year when Glamorgan played Kent in an official first-class game under lights, I think we changed the ball about four times. From a player's point of view it gets quite cold in the evenings but it was quite enjoyable.

"We've used a Kookaburra and we've used a Tiflex as well, and both of them didn't really last long, so we're not sure."

The players' preferences may become more problematic should television broadcasters start pressing for the scheduling of day/night Tests given the potential rewards in terms of audience sizes.