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Friday, November 27, 2015

Innovations : pink ball and day-night Test at Adelaide

India won at Nagpur and thereby won the Series ~ SA have paled in colour with ordinary performances in all the innings. 

Miles away, the 3rd Test  of Trans-Tasman Trophy played between 27th Nov to 1st Dec 2015 at Adelaide Oval is the most talked about ! – because of its novelty.  Prior to the match,  Nathan Lyon  fuelled speculation that Australia may field two spinners  stating that  he expects the pink ball to give him and his fellow tweakers an advantage.  New South Wales spinner Steve O’Keefe  had been  added to Australia’s 13-man squad  and there were reports of Coach Darren Lehmann  weighing up whether to play two spinners in a home Test for the first time in a decade as Lyon said he and O’Keefe would not disappoint if paired together.

O’Keefe is a self-described pink-ball specialist having taken 18 wickets at an average of 18.22 in three day-night matches for NSW over the last three years, including match figures of 2-76 last month.  As Cricinfo reports - Cricket's first ball under lights was bowled by Imran Khan to Rick McCosker on December 14, 1977. It was a practice match between the Australia and World XI teams of Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket, on a drop-in pitch at Waverley Park, a football stadium.

Now in this Adelaide test, the  pink ball certainly was a head-turner. But it's not just being pretty in pink that has made it the belle of the bat'n'ball. With the first ever day-night Test match starting at 2 pm local time, it was closer to our playing time at the morning 9 O clock – and it was a match played day-night in pink ball.  The  pink Kookaburra ball has its own Twitter account and even a nickname, with 'Galah' and 'Panther' two of the early contenders. Its celebrity status knew no bounds, as the ball and the inaugural day-night test were resounding winners on a cracking occasion at the Adelaide Oval on Friday. Even the previously sceptical players appeared sold after playing in front of a fizzing crowd of 47,441.

"It played out exactly as we forecasted. It was great to be part of it, an exciting day, and an electric atmosphere out there. A few wickets tumbled and the game has well and truly progressed now. Definitely a pretty good first day," Black Caps swing bowler Trent Boult said. Twelve wickets fell on day one with Australia having the advantage at stumps at 54-2 in reply to New Zealand's below par 202.  Although as Boult said, no-one really knows what a par total is against the pink ball, but New Zealand were disappointed with their batting effort when the ball did little in the air during daylight hours.

Another interesting trivia, as reported in The Guardian  – in 138 years of Test cricket, the first break has always been the lunch followed by the tea break but these breaks witness a ‘role reversal’ during the Test match. For a change, the break after the first session will be for tea with the duration being 20 minutes. It will happen at 4 pm local Adelaide time. The ‘Dinner’ break or may be rightfully called the ’Supper break’ will happen at 6:20 pm and will be of 40 minutes duration with the final session happening from 7 pm to 9pm fully under floodlight.

Zaheer Abbas, the president of the International Cricket Council, hailed the concept of day-night Test matches days before Australia play New Zealand in the first-ever such match, adding thathe saw the idea as "thoroughly enlightened".  "The sceptics and critics might call it a leap in the dark but I prefer to view the decision to play day-night Test cricket - a concept set to become reality when Australia plays New Zealand in Adelaide - as thoroughly enlightened," Abbas wrote in his column for the ICC website.

The Hindu reports that  India’s only day-night first-class match was the Ranji Trophy final between Mumbai and Delhi played with white ball at the Roop Singh Stadium in Gwalior from April 5-9, 1997. For the record, Mumbai won the Ranji Trophy by virtue of first innings lead. The BCCI did not try day night first class matches after that.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

27th Nov. 2015.

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