Captain Smith wary of pink ball test at Gabba against Pakistan
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: Australia captain Steven Smith has no qualms about playing another day-night test at Adelaide Oval but is wary of how the pink ball will perform in the humid conditions expected at Brisbane later this year.
Australia play Pakistan in the first test under lights at the Gabba on Dec. 15, despite warnings from former players and pundits that muggy conditions could make the ball unplayable for batsmen.
In the inaugural day-night match against New Zealand in drier Adelaide conditions last year, the ball hooped around menacingly during the floodlit late sessions and Australia won in three days.
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Cricket Australia (CA) hope to schedule another test against South Africa at Adelaide Oval in November but the Proteas have balked at the prospect, citing a lack of experience with the pink ball. “I think it worked well, the one test at the Adelaide Oval,” Smith told reporters in Brisbane on Monday. “I personally believe that’s the best place to play a day-night test match, but we’ve got the one at the Gabba this year so it will be interesting to see how that goes.
“It’s just a little bit different with the ball and humidity that quite often is around in Brisbane, so it could be very difficult for the batters, particularly if there’s grass left on the wicket.”
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Fears that the pink ball might not last the required 80 overs in test cricket saw a grassy pitch prepared for the Adelaide match, making the task much harder for batsmen. “I think we still need plenty of development with the ball to make sure that we don’t prepare a wicket that suits the ball with plenty of grass on it,” Smith added.
South Africa captain AB de Villiers said last month that his team had misgivings about playing the day-night test after getting feedback from Smith and some other Australian players.
Although Smith responded by backing Cricket Australia’s campaign for the Adelaide match, he was less enthused about playing a personal role in talking South Africa around. “I guess we could have conversations about it with some of the senior players in South Africa, but in the end it’s up to both boards what they want to do in regards to the game,” he said.
Smith will lead the one-day team in a triangular tournament in the Caribbean against West Indies and South Africa next month and said he had recovered from a wrist injury that ended his stint in the Indian Premier League (IPL) prematurely.