KARACHI: Pakistan and Sri Lanka may be the first teams ever to play a day-night international Test match when they meet later this year. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has approached Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) with the proposal to play one Test match in day-night conditions in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this winter. Pakistan will play Sri Lanka in three tests, out of which the first two are to be played in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which could be potential venues for the match.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) had last year approved the idea of a day-night test but had allowed the individual boards to decide on the color of the ball used as well as the hours of play. However, no cricket board has pushed forward with the idea until now. The PCB has already arranged day-night first-class matches in the domestic circuit using an orange colored ball. Abu Dhabi has also hosted day-night matches of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in the past, adding to the feasibility of the idea.
The PCB spokesman, Nadeem Sarwar told Cricinfo, “We have offered to play a Test match under lights.” He said, “We are keen to experiment with day-night Test cricket as we believe that this would help in reviving interest in the format. The major aspect in our discussion is the correspondence on the colour and brand of the ball. The venues are definitely ideal and there is no dew factor involved in December and January.”
Despite Sri Lanka’s apparent lack of practice and trials of day-night cricket with the colored ball, they seem keen to try out the format. SLC President Jayantha Dharmadasa said the topic had not yet been discussed at length but unless major objections arose during talks, Sri Lanka would agree to the proposal by the PCB.
“We shouldn’t say no if the only reason is that it doesn’t suit us,” Dharmadasa said. “In the past we’ve had 50-over cricket come into the game, then Twenty20s. In the future it will be day-night Tests. It would be a good thing for us to be part of the first day-night Test. People will be looking at it. I’ve still got to talk to the cricket committee, the selectors, and the cricketers, so we’ll see what comes out of those meetings.”
Sarwar said that a day-night Test could attract spectators and broadcasters. “Preliminary enquiries have revealed that there is an interest amongst sponsors and broadcasters in day-night Test cricket as it could add commercial momentum,” Sarwar added. “We also anticipate greater spectator interest compared to an all-day Test match. PCB has conducted trials of day-night, domestic first-class matches and, for us, this will be an exciting experiment, subject, of course, to agreement by Sri Lanka Cricket Board.”
Pakistan will host Sri Lanka in the UAE between December 2013 and January 2014 for a bilateral series which includes three Tests, five ODIs and two Twenty20s. After being unable to host teams in Pakistan itself due to security concerns, Pakistan has regularly played its home series in the UAE, the upcoming series being the second bilateral series to be played in the UAE between the two sides. . The first Test has been scheduled for December 31 in Dubai, while Abu Dhabi and Sharjah will host the second and third Tests, from January 8 and January 16.