The first ever pink ball Test in Adelaide was warmly received by Australian commentators on Saturday, with several likening the day-night match to playing under darkened English skies.
The first game of its kind in cricket’s 138-year history, the opening day of the Australia v New Zealand clash on Friday drew some 47,441 fans — the biggest crowd at the Adelaide Test since the famous 1932-33 Bodyline series.
“The whole thing looked pretty much like Test cricket,” wrote Richard Hinds in The Daily Telegraph after the first day saw New Zealand win the toss and bat, only to be all out for 202. Australia were 54 for 2 at close.
“Played with a pink ball. Under lights. At Trent Bridge.
“The visibility was different. The beaten batsman might say worse. But the conditions were not completely unfamiliar or particularly unfair.”
Writing in The Australian newspaper, Peter Lalor said at times Australian opener David Warner might have felt like he was back playing the Ashes in England.
“When the Australian innings began in the last session Trent Boult and Tim Southee made it swing like it was a dark day in England,” he said.
Commentators were pleased with the seeming restoration of parity between bat and ball, with 12 wickets falling in the first day in Adelaide.
This compares with only two wickets on the opening day of both of the first two Tests of the three-match series in Brisbane and Perth.
– ‘Test cricket in a new light’ -“If it was an overcorrection, it was not unwelcome,” said Greg Baum in The Sydney Morning Herald.
“You might say it put Test cricket in a new light.”
Baum said Test cricket fans generally happy with the game as it stands would have been satisfied with the nature of Friday’s play in Adelaide.
“If you have gone off Test cricket, or never much warmed to it anyway, it probably wouldn’t have mattered if this match was played at day, night or in the Saudi Arabian desert,” he said.
Players have enthused about the excitement for the day-night match which administrators see as a way of reinvigorating the traditional five-day game.
But there were concerns about the visibility of the pink ball, particularly just before sunset.
“As the sun is going down, and coming through the stands, it’s definitely the hardest part,” Boult told reporters late on Friday. “Visually at night, I reckon it (pink ball) stands out like a sore thumb.
“It’s just that little hour window where it’s quite difficult.
“It definitely swung around a little bit there with the new ball and from what everyone is saying, it’s a different game under lights.”
Writing in the Herald, Malcolm Knox said while the pink ball looked impressive on television screens, “for spectators at the ground, it was mostly invisible, its movement inferred from the players’ reactions and only picked up as the ball slowed down”.
“This was equally the case in sunshine, in twilight and after dark,” he wrote.
“Whether from up high or down low, whether new and shiny or old and scuffed, the pink ball is really hard to see.”
But he said this was not necessarily a problem, just that live viewing was closer to the red-ball game than the white-ball game “and that’s fine, because this is Test cricket”.