The First Day-Night Test: A Big Thumbs Up
The first-ever day-night match in the history of test cricket was an enthralling affair, with the different conditions being enjoyed by both players and spectators alike.
The much-talked about day-night test resulted in Australia narrowly winning in seamer-friendly conditions much to the delight of the fast bowlers, who have been bowling mainly on batting featherbeds in the series. The moving ball, scenic conditions and a full house during the match made for a thrilling spectacle. The overall response to this match has been positive and here’s a look at why day-night test matches are very much here to stay:
The Match Itself
Hosts Australia won a humdinger of a test match by 3 wickets in a low-scoring game. The game was over in 3 days with New Zealand scoring 202 and 208 after opting to bat first. The Aussies chased down 187 in the second innings after taking a slender lead in the first by scoring 224. We also witnessed tea and dinner breaks instead of the usual lunch and tea breaks.
The Pink Ball
There had been a lot of talk about how the pink ball will fare its first test, and it passed with ease. There were no sighting issues for players and fans alike, both on TV as well as on the ground. The ball lasted well too answering question marks over degradation issues. Here though, it must be said that the pitch was the greenest Adelaide track for a long time and the lush green outfield helped with the cause.
Josh Hazlewood was adjudged Man-of-the-Match for taking 9 wickets in the match, of which a career-best 6/70 came in the second innings. A commendable effort considering Mitchell Starc’s injury in the match and subsequent inability to bowl in the second innings. Trent Boult came storming back into form as his 5 wickets in the second innings almost derailed the Aussie chase and it required a gutsy knock from Shaun Marsh to take them home. Peter Nevill’s crucial 66 was one of only three 50+ scores from either side in the match.
Not Short Of Controversy
The first day-night test had its share of controversy too. Tailender Nathan Lyon was saved by the Decision Review System (DRS) after being given not-out after the ball appeared to come off the back of his bat and then shoulder, to be caught by Kane Williamson. Hot Spot showed a mark but TV umpire Nigel Llong gave the decision in favour of the batsman, much to the chagrin of the Kiwis. It was 118/8 in the first innings at the time and Lyon got useful runs with Nevill and then Starc’s meaty blows gave the hosts the lead. A livid Kiwi camp felt it turned the game and lodged an official protest.
Attendance And Viewership
The in-ground attendance at the Adelaide Oval was a record 123,736 over three days, a figure that was higher than combined sum of the previous 10 days of test cricket between the two teams! It even beat the mark of 113,009 set in 2014’s test against India. As per Cricket Australia, the TV audience for the third day peaked at 3.19 million viewers, the highest achieved over the summer. The tense final session on the third day brought 2.34 million viewers and it became the most-watched non-Ashes test session since the beginning of TV ratings.