World's first day-night cricket Test declared a "roaring success"

December 1, 2015 11:15 am 

CANBERRA, Nov. 30 — Cricket captains, coaches, curators, fans and a TV broadcaster have queued up to praise the world's first day-night Test in Adelaide as a "roaring success", even though Australia finished off New Zealand inside three of the allocated five days.

The inaugural day-night Test was received well by fans, boasting the highest attendance total for a non-Ashes match in Adelaide at 123,736.

"To get 123,000 people through the gates in three days is absolutely amazing," Australian captain Steve Smith said late on Sunday following his side's tense three-wicket win over New Zealand.

"It was a great Test match."

New Zealand's skipper Brendon McCullum said it was hard to argue with the concept which has been in the works for the past decade, given the huge fan turnout.

"People are voting with their feet and I think it's here to stay which is great," McCullum told reporters on Sunday night after losing the final game of the three-Test series.

"Overall it was a roaring success."

However, McCullum questioned the pitch delivered by Adelaide Oval's curators who deliberately left grass on the strip in order to protect the new pink ball, also on display for the first time.

He said there was more work to be done to ensure the new pink ball which was purpose-designed for the concept's night setting, replacing the red version — didn't change the essential nature of Test cricket.

"As pink-ball cricket evolves we'll see the pitches won't have quite as much grass on them," McCullum 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."

While the game did not feature many runs, neither team scored above 250 in the four innings, it made for a nice change of pace to the bat-dominated opening Tests of the trans-Tasman series in Brisbane and Perth.

Australia's coach Darren Lehmann said it was "great to see a contest between bat and ball" and dubbed the concept "a keeper".

The historic fixture also pulled massive TV ratings for free-to-air broadcaster Channel Nine, with the national audience peaking at 1.84 million for day one.

In the afterglow of that first day, Cricket Australia (CA) boss James Sutherland floated the idea of a second day-night Test next summer when asked about the prospect.

"I don't see why not," Sutherland told the Australian Broadcast Corporation (ABC) at the weekend.

"I think that it would be a good positive, I think the fans are calling for it."

Sutherland said the Brisbane Test, with an upgrade of the venue's lights slated for mid-year 2016, was poised as the prime candidate, but he would need to get the go-ahead from next year's two touring sides, South Africa and Pakistan.

However, the three-day all-weekend extravaganza proved so popular with TV viewers that Channel Nine's rival network, Channel Ten, has already called for a cap on the number of day-night Tests.

As the rights holder for CA's domestic Twenty20 competition, the Big Bash League (BBL) which is played at night, Channel Ten's BBL boss Dave Barham told Fairfax Media on Monday that Melbourne's and Sydney's marquee Tests should continue to be played during the day.

Barham said the move would "harm" the BBL which is played over the course of December and January, the same time as the marque Tests if the two formats were pitted against one another in the timeslot. (PNA/Xinhua)



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