History was made in Australia over the last few days when the first ever day/night Test match was played, when the hosts entertained New Zealand in the third Test of the Trans-Tasman series.
Australia completed a nervy looking 3 wicket victory at the Adelaide Oval to take the (best of 3) series 2-0, and – in some way – get some patriotic national revenge over New Zealand, for the All Blacks’ recent Rugby World Cup victory over the Aussies.
The match had it’s moments, and was definitely a worthwhile experiment. To say it was a resounding success might be a little bit over the top, but Cricket Australia must have been delighted with the way things turned out, with the whole experience getting a general thumbs up.
Crowds were up, which is one of the main driving factors behind the experiment. The overall attendance for the three days was more than 120,000, so far so good, but how would it fare when the novelty factor has worn off?
At the same time the match was over in less than three days, which must have been a touch disappointing for the organisers. Could the reasons behind the constant fall of wickets been partly down to night time conditions? Possibly, but then bad batting also contributed to constant stream of batsmen heading back to the Pavilion.
The whole idea of Test cricket is that it is supposed to be a test of technique, skill, mentality, etc, and learning to play in differing conditions (even in your won country) is part and parcel of Test match cricket.
The Pink ball also faired well, there seemed to be no issues with visibility, it seemed to keep it’s colour well, and it also remained in shape and didn’t seem to deteriorate in any way (more than usual). That said, conditions were conducive to looking after the ball. The pitch had a bit of juice in it, and outfield was lush green. Whether it would hold up as well on a dry dusty track and outfield remains to be seen, but so far so good.
Moving onto other issues, and the resurgent England (in T20’s that is) take on Pakistan today. Ladbrokes make England 8/11 to complete a third victory and a series whitewash, while they have Pakistan as 11/10 outsiders.
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Back to cricket, and it’s been an odd series so far. England are 2-0 up, and have effectively played with two experimental sides. At the moment, I can’t decide whether England are that good, or Pakistan are that bad – the truth is probably somewhere in the middle to be honest.
One thing that can be taken for certain is that England have certainly discovered a thing or two about their squad players. James Vince has certainly taken his chance, and Sam Billings has also proved that he is more than a capable replacement should Jos Buttler get injured, or be left out due to his workload (or just plain old being dropped).
England pretty much know their strongest XI, so this series will have really helped them in their preparations for naming a squad. The big worry for me though is the bowling, there still seems to be question marks over who the best bowlers are, with nobody really standing out for the right reasons.
I know seamers in general all go around the park in T20 cricket, but they need to also take wickets, and I still look at England’s bowlers, and don’t see a stand out wicket take in their ranks.