The Pink Ball Review: How Teams Have Fared in Day-Night Tests
India and Bangladesh are set to embrace the latest dawn in cricket – Day-Night Test – when they meet in their second and final Test in Kolkata starting 22 November.
After the ICC changed their rule-book to allow the play of the format in 2012, the first Day-Night Test was only played three years later at Adelaide.
Since then, all leading Test nations barring India and Bangladesh have played a total of 11 Day-Night Tests in venues across the world. None of those 11 Tests ended in a draw. Nine were played during the summers and the other two in Dubai – meaning dew wasn’t as much a factor as it could be, at Eden Gardens in the upcoming Test.
Here’s a look at the eight teams who have played Day-Night Tests, and what they said about them.
Former Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland remained a strong advocate of day-night cricket due to which, its logistics were extensively experimented with in their domestic cricket tournaments.
The Aussies hosted the first-ever Day-Night Test, playing New Zealand at Adelaide in late November 2015 with the Kookburra pink ball. New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum won the toss and opted to bat as the visitors were bowled out for 202, with all four Aussie pacers taking the wickets. Australia went on to win the game by 3 wickets within three days. Man of the match, Josh Hazlewood, had then said, "The ball definitely did a lot more in the night. The grass on the wicket also helped.”
The Australians have won all five Day-Night Tests they’ve played – against NZ, South Africa, Pakistan, England and Sri Lanka – and so far remain the most successful team in pink-ball cricket.
After their latest win over Sri Lanka, Aussie bowler Pat Cummins said, “I think the pink ball helps when it's swinging around a bit. Makes it a bit easier to get that fuller length.”
Steve Smith noted after their win over Pakistan: “We've seen in day-night Tests, wickets fall under lights with the new ball."
After their loss in the 2015 Adelaide Test, pacer Trent Boult had said, "I've had a couple of hit-outs with it during the day and at night, and the findings are it does tend to change a lot under lights and in the last session, it definitely swung around a little bit with the new ball and there was still a shade of it with it 22 overs old now. It is a different game under lights and we've got to come back tomorrow and hope to put a bit more pressure on them."
New Zealand hosted a Day-Night for the first time in March last year. The Kiwis bowled England out for 58 in their first innings, and won the Test by an innings and 49 runs on the fifth day at Eden Park in Auckland.
“At different times the ball moves around in different ways and if one can see it consistently moving around from a bowling point of view, we’ll be pretty happy. No doubt that the night session is probably where most of us like to operate as pace bowlers. To see a couple bouncing more than we were expecting was, yeah, probably got my tail up a little bit,” said Boult after the game.
The Kiwis hold the record for both, the best bowling average for a team (21.33) and best bowling strike rate for a team (45), in Day-Night Tests.
Pakistan have played three Day-Night Tests so far, losing two – against Sri Lanka and Australia – and winning against West Indies at Dubai.
Pakistan scored 579/3d against Windies in the 2016 – the highest team score in D-N ties so far – and hold the record for the highest batting average (32.88) for a team in pink-ball Tests. In that Test, Azhar Ali recorded the highest individual score in Day-Night cricket, smashing an unbeaten 302.
Then Pakistan captain, Misbah-Ul-Haq, had said, "The pink ball is different from red and white balls in that when it gets older, you have to look after it as a batsman because it could be difficult (to see) at times. You need to make a few adjustments here and there. Overall it's good playing under lights. It's not terribly difficult for the batsmen. It's a fair competition between bat and ball."
Sri Lanka beat Pakistan and West Indies in their first two Day-Night Tests, but lost to Australia earlier this year.
After their win over Pakistan at Dubai, Dinesh Chandimal said, “Last night, in the last session, it was difficult to bowl with the dew factor which didn't help the spinners. But, we knew that today in the afternoon, it will grip better as we have quality spinners.”
Full List of Day-Night Tests
- Australia beat New Zealand by 3 wickets, Adelaide, 27-29 November 2015
- Pakistan beat West Indies by 56 runs, Dubai, 13-17 October 2016
- Australia beat South Africa by 7 wickets, Adelaide, November 24-27, 2016
- Australia beat Pakistan by 39 runs, Brisbane, December 15-19, 2016
- England beat West Indies by an innings and 209 runs, Birmingham, 17-19 August 2016
- Sri Lanka beat Pakistan by 68 runs, Dubai, 6-10 October 2017
- Australia beat England by 120 runs, Adelaide, 2-6 December 2017
- South Africa beat Zimbabwe by an innings and 120 runs, Port Elizabeth, 26-27 December 2017
- New Zealand beat England by an innings and 49 runs, Auckland, 22-26 March 2018
- Sri Lanka beat West Indies by 4 wickets, Bridgetown, 23-26 June 2018
- Australia beat Sri Lanka by an innings and 40 runs, Brisbane, 24-26 January 2019
Also Read : What Goes Into the Making of the Pink Ball?
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