Adelaide - More pink-ball day-night Test
matches are planned after the spectacular success of the historic trailblazer
at the Adelaide Oval, which won plaudits from fans, players and cricket chiefs.
Test cricket got a pulsating makeover as
Australia claimed a thrilling three-wicket win over New Zealand in the first
Test in the game's 138-year history to be played under lights.
Thirty-seven wickets tumbled in three days
as the pink ball dominated the bat, in stark contrast to the run-laden
low-attended first two Tests in Brisbane and Perth.
The crowds loved the experience with a
total attendance of 123,736 fans thronging into Adelaide Oval over the three
lively days. The opening day gate of 47,441 was the biggest at the Adelaide
Test since the famous 1932-33 'bodyline' series.
Host broadcaster, the Nine Network, was
also beaming with 3.19 million prime-time TV viewers across the nation watching
Sunday's last day, far more than normal for the third day of a Test.
Rival skippers Steve Smith and Brendon
McCullum were in unison about the success of the initiative.
"The whole Test match was a great
innovation, it was a great spectacle, and to get 120 000 people through the
gates in three days is absolutely amazing," said Australia's Smith.
McCullum enthused: "It's a great
concept. Overall, it's a roaring success - 120 000 people turning up over three
days. People are voting with their feet. I think it's here to stay, which is
The glowing praise appeared to justify
Cricket Australia's initiative and is emboldening them to flag the prospect of
two more day-night Tests when South Africa and Pakistan tour next year.
The national body see day-night cricket
along with the luminous pink-ball as the panacea to arrest dwindling interest
in the traditional five-day format.
Based on the initial evidence, day-night
Tests look set to become part of global cricket schedules for years to come.
The South Australian Cricket Association is
already negotiating to host another day-nighter against Pakistan in Adelaide
next December, while South Africa are expected to get their first experience of
pink ball cricket in Brisbane in the traditional home season opening Test.
"I don't see why not, right time,
place and conditions and the fans are calling out for it," CA chief
executive James Sutherland said of the chances of the Gabba getting a pink-ball
"The Gabba is a good option and have
upgraded their lights, and I would have thought a balmy Test would be a pretty
good place to watch cricket."
International Cricket Council chief
executive David Richardson said the concept was here to stay.
"The inaugural day-night Test in
Adelaide was a huge success, enjoyed by cricket followers across the
world," he said.
"Although day-night Tests will not be
feasible at every venue, it certainly provides a new dimension for players, spectators,
broadcasters and fans alike and it is here to stay."
Prior concerns over the durability and
visibility of the pink ball prompted Adelaide ground staff to produce a grassy
pitch and square to ensure the newly-designed ball stayed in shape longer.
There were no major problems and not once
was the ball changed during the three days of play.
McCullum felt there was a "touch too
much" grass on the strip and said it was something to keep in mind for the
next day-night Test.
"As pink-ball cricket evolves we'll
see the pitches won't have quite as much grass on them," he said.
"It's meant to allow Tests to be
played at night and it's not meant to differ or change how Test cricket is
played. Under lights the pink ball responded a little bit much."
Australia coach Darren Lehmann agreed but
fully supported the day-night Test concept.
"Maybe a little less grass, as a
batter at night it was quite difficult," Lehmann said, but added: "It
was exciting. It's great to see a contest between bat and ball."