New Zealand are anticipating a battle of tactics as they venture into cricket’s new world in this week’s first-ever day-night third Test against Australia, coach Mike Hesson said today.
The cricket world is watching with interest as trans-Tasman rivals Australia and New Zealand face off with a revolutionary pink ball at Adelaide Oval from Friday.
Zaheer Abbas, the new president of the International Cricket Council, hailed the day-night Test concept as “thoroughly enlightened”. The pink ball’s capacity to swing freely and create collapses at night in preparatory matches means the final session of play has become more problematic than the first two sessions.
It leaves rival skippers Steve Smith and Brendon McCullum with big decisions to make this week. Smith indicated his thinking when captaining New South Wales in this season’s day-night domestic Sheffield Shield round by declaring on day one to utilise the swing of paceman Mitchell Starc, who grabbed three wickets in the evening session with the aid of some noticeable in-swingers.
Hesson said the clamour to bowl at night could be a key battle at Adelaide.
“There’s definitely something to that (declaring to bowl at night). If you think that’s the best chance to take a few early wickets. There’ll definitely be some tactical plays throughout the Test,” he told reporters.
New Zealand suffered a collapse of four for 30 in their two-day practice tour match in Perth on Sunday after dinner against Western Australia. The Blackcaps’ bowlers had created havoc by swinging the second new ball in Saturday’s night session with WA losing five for 21.
Swing-induced collapses have become a regular occurrence in day-night Sheffield Shield fixtures this season leading up to the Adelaide Test. “At night with the new ball it swings and probably more so than it does during the day,” Hesson said.
“That’s been very consistent over the past couple of years with the pink ball. Obviously, things can change pretty quickly at night. That was good for us to experience. We head to Adelaide knowing not everything but knowing enough.”
Hesson added that the Adelaide Oval pitch would shape the Test, especially when it came to the colour of the ball.
“All the talk is there’ll be grass on the wicket,” he said. “Over the five days it’s certainly going to dry out so it (the ball) might hold its colour a lot more at the start of the Test than it will at the end. We’ll have to see the wicket ... it’s not a perfect science, is it?”
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