Day-night Ashes on the cards

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said he respected the concern of Australia captain Steve Smith and others, but reiterated that a pink-ball Ashes Test would be a "natural progression."

England wrested the Ashes from Australia in 2015 after it beat the visitor 3-2.   -  Reuters

Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland wants players to remain open-minded about day-night Test matches during the 2017-18 Ashes series in Australia.

Sutherland said he respected the concern of Australia captain Steve Smith and others, but reiterated that a pink-ball Ashes Test would be a “natural progression.”

Australia hosted the first day-night Test at the Adelaide Oval last year, beating New Zealand in a low-scoring match.

The venue will host another day-night Test in November, after South African players agreed to it after weeks of debate. They had been reluctant after a few Australian players said they had issues with the pink ball’s visibility and durability in the Adelaide test.

Today, Sutherland said day-night Tests will allow for bigger audiences at the matches and on television and predicted there’d be “somewhere between zero and two” day-night tests during the next Ashes series.

He spoke after Smith, playing in the West Indies in a limited-overs tri-series, said the Ashes “works pretty well with the red (regular) ball... playing against England, we always get the viewers and the crowds out, so I don’t think there is any issue there.”

England captain >Alastair Cook has also indicated he’d like the 2017-18 Ashes series to be all traditional day matches. Dates haven’t been announced for that series.

The Adelaide day-night Test last year was completed in three days, but drew 124,000 spectators and television ratings were also favorable.

“I think there’s a natural progression for us to get to a stage where Ashes Test matches are played as day-night games,” Sutherland said. “The players are clearly important stakeholders and I respect the views of Steven and Alastair in saying that. The Ashes is a great contest, and (it) will no doubt attract huge audiences both at the ground and on television.

“But I think the facts of the matter are that by playing a day-night Test match you’re actually going to get bigger audiences at the game and on television. It even time-shifts games into a more appealing time of day in the U.K. That’s another factor we need to consider.”

Australia will host three tests against South Africa in November, with the series concluding in Adelaide from November 24, and will kick off a three-Test series against Pakistan with a day-night match in Brisbane starting December 15.

Support Sportstar

Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

  Dugout videos