London - Edgbaston will host the first day/night Test ever
staged in the United Kingdom when England face the West Indies in Birmingham in
August next year, the England and Wales Cricket Board announced on Wednesday.
England are now in line to become the third nation to stage
a five-day Test under floodlights, following Australia's day/night Test against
New Zealand in Adelaide last year and with Pakistan due to play the West Indies
in a day/night Test in the United Arab Emirates next week.
A pink ball will be used, with players wearing traditional
whites rather than coloured clothing.
The aim, as with all floodlit matches, is to encourage those
who are at work during the day to attend.
Subject to confirmation from the International Cricket
Council (ICC), the August 17-21 match between England and the West Indies, the
first of a three-Test series, will have playing hours of 15:00-22:00, rather
than the English standard Test times of 12:00-19:00.
Test matches in England, unlike many countries, are
generally well supported and there are concerns the English climate may not be
conducive to spectators sitting out to watch for several hours late in the day.
Given that the English cricket season also coincides with
the UK's longest daylight hours, questions have also been raised about whether
there's much to be gained from having a floodlit Test in the country.
But ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said in a board statement
issued on Thursday: "We're excited by the prospect of staging our first ever
day/night Test match.
"It's a great opportunity to attract more fans to the
game and see how staging Test cricket in the afternoon and evening fits with
working patterns and modern lifestyles, whilst maintaining the deep tradition
of Test match cricket.
"We think it can help attract different fans and
families to Test cricket and the innovation will certainly put the five-day
game under the spotlight in a very busy summer for the game."
He added: "A number of Test nations are looking at
day/night Tests as a way of building further interest in our most traditional
format. We're glad to be supporting that and adding to the understanding of how
this might develop in different countries.
"Our partners can also see the clear opportunity and
have been supportive as we build towards this big occasion next August.
Warwickshire chief executive Neil Snowball added:
"Edgbaston staged the UK's first day/night domestic match in 1997 and has
a great history of hosting and selling out some of the biggest fixtures in the
"In turn, the Edgbaston atmosphere and match day
experience has become iconic, with England having a fantastic record of
"Marking our 50th Test anniversary with a game of this
magnitude will be a great occasion."
Thursday's announcement follows a successful pink ball trial
match between Warwickshire and Worcestershire's 2nd XIs at Edgbaston in August
and previous use of a pink ball in the traditional English season
curtain-raiser between MCC and the champion county.
Next August's match will also mean England have experience
of a day/night Test should at least one of the fixtures in the 2017/18 Ashes in
Australia be staged under lights.
In order to help the West Indies prepare, their three-day
tour game against Derbyshire in Derby from August 11-13 will be played under
floodlights with a pink ball.