The Roar
The Roar


All we are saying is give day/night Test cricket a chance

Michael Clarke has handed over the reigns to Steve Smith. (AAP Image/David Mariuz)
30th June, 2015

So floodlit Test cricket is about to hit the schedules. Excited? Non-plussed? Curious? Apathetic?

Whatever your stance, it is a development that was coming one way or the other with the timescale the only variable.

With the Sheffield Shield playing the very same thing and the English season opener, for the past few years, consisting of an MCC versus champion county encounter in the UAE as opposed to at Lord’s, the introduction of day/night cricket at the highest level has been on the agenda for some time.

Give that the first game in Abu Dhabi was in 2010, the only real surprise should be that it’s taken so long to move up to the five-day format.

It won’t be to everyone’s tastes – change rarely is – and a straw poll of any debate around the subject will confirm this. But I’m not sure there’s a credible reason for it not to go ahead. In fact, it comes down to a simple enough question: what is there to lose?

A solitary game, in the climate best suited to such a move, has far more positive aspects than negative and it has to be worth a try.

After all, if it doesn’t work as both a sporting contest and a spectacle then cut the losses and don’t do it again. Nothing ventured, nothing gained as the old adage goes.

Those who choose to complain about the viability of Test cricket in the 21st century can’t bemoan the fact that nothing is being done to make it more attractive to spectators and sponsors alike.


And those who will, inevitably, whinge about the integrity of the game itself need to adopt a more enlightened outlook for a short period of time.

It’s been confirmed, it’s going to go ahead and so reserve the judgement until after the event.

From a playing perspective, the main bone of contention will be the ball used. Pink cricket balls, going from personal experience (albeit in daylight hours), can be seen clearly. While swing is unlikely to be a dominant factor, if the pitch does suit seam, bowlers aren’t going to be unfairly nullified.

In previous outings, batsman have mentioned that the seam of the ball can be hard to pick up and the early evening period can often be tricky for sighting regardless of the colour of ball used. But to expect an absence of teething problems may be pushing it a little.

Another concern will be that the game itself isn’t compromised. Batsman want to be able to play as they normally do, bowlers the same and fielders, especially those in the outfield, expect to be able to pick the ball up.

Adequate practice beforehand should be a given for both sets of players, and the provision of such will alleviate, it is hoped, any lingering doubts.

A dramatic change in conditions when night falls won’t count in the format’s favour but if dew doesn’t generally play a major role in day/night fixtures, then it shouldn’t be a worry.


What is clear is a willingness on behalf of the administrators to make the concept work.

An obvious factor behind the continued success of the Twenty20 format is that it’s played at a time to suit those who want to go along. This is merely sound business sense and to adopt this principle is straightforward thinking.

Use a pricing structure to match and the encouragement of those who fancy some time at the cricket but usually can’t get along could be achieved.

Add to the mix the novelty value – who didn’t want to watch floodlit cricket when it first came along? – which will be in evidence initially, and you have another mark in favour.

It is unlikely to be perfect but that isn’t the expectation. Not all change is for the best but sometimes you reach a point where to resist change for the sake of it is foolhardy.

Australia versus New Zealand in Adelaide, under lights at the Adelaide Oval, will be well worth watching.

It could be the start of a new chapter in Test history. Give it a chance.