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Australia, New Zealand to play 1st day-night Test with a pink ball

By AP - Jun 30,2015 - Last updated at Jun 30,2015

File photo of Ryan Carters of the Blues as he keeps his eye on a pink ball (Photo courtesy of cricbuzz.com)

ADELAIDE, Australia — Australia and New Zealand will play the first day-night Test cricket match, when the southern hemisphere rivals meet in the last match of a three-game series in November.

Cricket Australia said in a statement Tuesday that the Test at the Adelaide Oval starting November 27 will be the first to be played under lights and with a pink ball that “will be used to ensure greater visibility for players and spectators.”

James Sutherland, CEO of CA, said the shift in playing times would make the Test more accessible to people at work and children at school, and that it was in response “to a time-poor society that can’t always attend or watch Test cricket during working hours”.

The start time is still under consideration, although CA says one possible scenario is having play from 2:30pm to 9:30pm local time.

In another break from tradition, the interval between the first and second session will be 20 minutes and be called tea instead of lunch. The second break in play would be 40 minutes and known as “dinner”.

The Adelaide Test is one of six at home for the Australians — three each against New Zealand and West Indies — from November 5 until January 7.

“We’re really confident with the work that has been done over the past few years, we have had two successive seasons of Sheffield Shield cricket where pink balls have been trialed,” Sutherland said. “We’re working really closely with New Zealand Cricket in giving them the right tour matches and preparation before the ultimate day-night Test.”

International Cricket Council CEO David Richardson called the Adelaide Test a “bold step”.

“It’s a recognition of the fact that cricket is obviously about the players, but it’s also about the fans”. Richardson said. “We want cricket to sustain itself, especially Test cricket.”

New Zealand players had expressed strong reservations over the practicality of day-night Test cricket, particularly the quality of the pink ball. However, the ball’s manufacturer has offered assurances that after years of development and testing, it will perform and wear as well as the red ball traditionally used in test matches.

New Zealand players’ opposition lessened when they learned the Australia and New Zealand boards had agreed to a schedule which will see the countries play 10 Tests and eight one-day series over the next seven years.

Matches between the Tasman neighbours have become rare in recent years and New Zealand last played a Test in Australia, beating the home side at Hobart, in 2011. The teams also met in the Cricket World Cup final in March won by Australia.

Australia’s summer season gets under way in Brisbane against New Zealand on November 5 with Perth’s WACA ground hosting the second Test from November 17.

The West Indies plays in Hobart from December 10 before the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne beginning December 26 and Sydney Test starting January 3.

 

Australia recently concluded a two-Test sweep of the West Indies in the Caribbean and is now preparing for the Ashes in England.

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