Opening day of the first day-night cricket Test between Australia and New Zealand an exciting affair with bumper crowd
By Isabelle Westbury, Adelaide
“The ball has behaved like, well, a cricket ball.” Despite the hype, the controversy and the debate about its future, the first day of the first day-night Test was summed up by Australian commentator Jim Maxwell. Pink, it would seem, is just another colour.
It was a day, or rather a night, for the bowlers as Australia’s attack saw off New Zealand for just 202 in 65 overs. A pink ball, pink sky and 12 wickets in a day saw the 47,441 strong Adelaide crowd enjoy this historic occasion.
“I think it played out exactly as we forecast,” said New Zealand opening bowler Trent Boult. “It was great to be a part of it. It was an exciting day and an electric atmosphere out there. It’s amazing to be playing Test cricket in front of almost 50,000 people.”
The historic first ball of the game was bowled by Mitchell Starc, a master of the white ball and gradually becoming so with the red. Twenty balls later and Martin Guptill and Josh Hazlewood ensured that their names would feature in countless pub quizzes to come as he became the first batsman and bowler to be involved in the first dismissal by a pink ball in Test cricket. But was the pinkness of the ball to blame? No, Hazlewood bowled it gun-barrel straight, and Guptill? He missed it.
“I think all in all it went really well,” said Peter Siddle, playing in place of the retired Mitchell Johnson and whose second wicket of the match saw him pass 200 career Test wickets. “There was not a lot of swing early on for us. But I think as the evening started to move into the twilight period and stuff like that there was a little bit in the wicket. A little bit of sideways movement off the deck. But I think it played well – the ball held up well.”
“There were not too many surprises there in general to be honest,” said Boult, who added of New Zealand’s batting: “It’s difficult to tell whether it was a below-par score, it being the first Test with the pink ball. The Australians bowled really well and put us under a lot of pressure but in my opinion there weren’t too many things out of the unknown”
“For cricket, it’s definitely been a great day,” said Siddle. It was a sobering day too as it marked the first anniversary of Australian batsman Philip Hughes’ death, but this was a celebration of success – of Hughes’ life and to the future of Test cricket.