It took 138 years for cricket’s longest and most hallowed format to take a bow under floodlights, but only minutes for Australia pacer Peter Siddle to declare the first ever day-night Test match a success after stumps on day one.
A crowd of 47,000 flocked to the Adelaide Oval on Friday for the opening day of the third and final Test between Australia and New Zealand, easily outstripping the 40,000 who attended the entire match in Perth.
Australia’s Mitchell Starc bowled the first delivery of the pink ball in bright sunshine early in the afternoon and New Zealand paceman Tim Southee fired the last ball wide under an inky black sky, giving up four byes. A total of 12 wickets tumbled in between, but it was no fault of the newly developed pink ball, which held up well enough for the 65.2 overs of New Zealand’s innings of 202.
Captain Steven Smith (24 not out) and Adam Voges (nine not out) guided Australia to 54-2 at the close after New Zealand’s pacemen swung the ball dramatically in the late session.
“The atmosphere out there was amazing from early on until the end of play, the crowd was upbeat and especially when we were on a roll and getting some wickets,” Siddle, who took 2-54 and celebrated his 200th Test wicket, told reporters.
“It was a great day. Everyone who came and witnessed what went on will be very impressed with the whole experience.”
Batsmen complained in the lead-up to the match about having trouble seeing the pink ball from twilight in warm-up matches and Australia’s openers David Warner and Joe Burns bore the brunt of the challenge, each falling cheaply.
There was little swing for Australia’s bowlers early in the day and Siddle felt there was a “slight difference” in the way it played compared to the conventional red ball.
“But I think for cricket in general, it would have been supported well here and it would have been on TV and all over the world. For cricket it’s definitely been a great day.”
Australia have already sounded out Pakistan’s cricket board about playing a day-night Test match next year and New Zealand’s board revealed they were mulling a similar match against Bangladesh.
New Zealand seamer Trent Boult felt the atmosphere “electric” and the ball behaved exactly as forecast. “Definitely a pretty good first day,” he said after removing Warner for one late in the day.
“The findings are it does seem to change a lot under lights and in the last session. It definitely swung around a little bit there with the new ball, and there was still a shade of it with it 22 overs old now.”
He stopped short of endorsing a day-night Test against Bangladesh, however.
“We need to see a bit more of it, to be honest ... We’ve got to see how this one goes and how it pans out. It definitely is exciting for Test match cricket.”