Plans firming up for first day-night cricket test

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 13:30 30/06/2014
Black Caps
Reuters

HIGH FIVE: Plans are progressing for New Zealand and Australia to square off in an historic day-night cricket test at the end of next year.

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Hobart or Adelaide will host New Zealand and Australia, in test cricket's first day-night match.

Details are still to be confirmed, but the chief executives of both countries' cricket governing bodies announced today that the historic match was likely to take place in November 2015.

The Black Caps are scheduled to tour Australia at that time. Plans are in place for a test to be played with a pink ball and at a start time of about 2pm (4pm NZ time).

Cricket Australia (CA) has trialled a pink ball in its four-day Sheffield Shield competition and will do so again this November. Reports vary about how the pink ball stands up to 80 overs of cricket.

However, CA chief executive James Sutherland said he was confident one would be suitable for tests.

David White, of New Zealand Cricket, echoed those sentiments and stated that this country would soon host day-night tests as well. A trial match would be conducted in the coming summer and White envisaged a time when at least one test each summer would be played under lights.

"We are serious about pushing ahead with the concept of day-night test cricket," Sutherland said in a statement.

"We feel it will only strengthen the position and possibilities for test cricket in many parts of the world.

"There are many test matches played during non-holiday periods when adults are at work and kids are at school. That's not an ideal way to promote the highest form of the game.

"In fact, there isn't a major team sport in the world that schedules the majority of its premium content during the working week."

In a subsequent phone conference, Sutherland added that CA would not tamper with its Boxing Day and New Year tests, which would continue to start at the traditional times. But for pre-Christmas tours, day-nighters were ideal.

White made similar noises, before admitting that day-night games would also enhance NZC's television revenue.

This country's time difference made selling rights overseas challenging. But playing until about 10pm (NZ time) would make Black Caps matches more attractive.

Beyond a trial which, unlike in Australia, would not be in a first-class match, White said NZC was also investigating which of the existing floodlit grounds here were least effected by dew and at what times of year.

If there was a stumbling block to day-night test cricket becoming a reality in New Zealand, it was that the ball might deteriorate too much.

In 50-over cricket, for instance, two balls are used, partly to mitigate the problem of dew.

International Cricket Council chief executive David Richardson has thrown his support behind the concept of New Zealand and Australia participating in a day-night test next year, as have Australian domestic test cricket rights holder Channel Nine.

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