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Australia v West Indies: Fight night looms as MCG joins SCG in bid for a day-night Test

The SCG Trust's audacious bid to poach a second Test match next summer has sparked a potential four-state fight for hosting rights to an early-season day-night Test.

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Competition to be part of the pink ball revolution intensified after SCG Trust chairman Tony Shepherd urged Cricket Australia to give the venue an extra Test to go along with its traditional New Year's fixture.

It prompted Cricket Victoria chief Tony Dodemaide to throw Melbourne into the ring, blowing wide open what had been thought of as a two-horse pink-ball race between Brisbane and Hobart. Adelaide was described as a "lock" by CA chief James Sutherland after the success of the inaugural day-night Test under lights

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The daring moves are set to put the Trust and Cricket Victoria on a collision course with Cricket Tasmania, who stand to be the biggest loser from the developments. The Apple Isle had already been under intense pressure from Canberra to host one of the six Tests against South Africa and Pakistan.

Sydney and Melbourne had not been thought of as playing hosts to day-night Tests, due to the success of the marquee New Year's and Boxing Day fixtures - but that was before the idea of hosting a second five-day match was floated by Shepherd.

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CA's mandate is to take international cricket to as many state capitals as possible however the governing body is open minded to the Trust's initiative.

In a summer where innovation has become a major theme in Australian cricket, the idea of the Boxing Day and New Year's Tests being played under lights can no longer be considered fanciful.

Great atmosphere: Nathan Lyon bowls as the Richie Benaud impessonators hold up their microphones during day two of the ...
Great atmosphere: Nathan Lyon bowls as the Richie Benaud impessonators hold up their microphones during day two of the third Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Sydney Cricket Ground. Photo: Mark Kolbe

CA has not reached an agreement on day-night fixtures with the South Africa and Pakistan boards with discussions to continue in Dubai next month. But it is expected there will be at least one pink ball Test next summer.

"They definitely know it'll be on the agenda," Sutherland said on ABC Grandstand.

Shepherd used his address at a joint function hosted by the Trust and CA to state the SCG's case for a second Test, though he mistakenly said the venue, and not Melbourne's Waverley Park, staged cricket's first day-night game.

Sydney hosted two Tests in the 2003-04 and 2005-06 seasons though the matches played earlier in the summer drew significantly smaller crowds compared to the New Year's time slot.

"An early summer day-night Test at Sydney Cricket Ground would have to be a chance to draw a crowd greater than the 44,377 who watched that first day nighter in '78," Shepherd said.

"Cricket works in Sydney, it works at the Sydney Cricket Ground because we are connected to the CBD and in the heart of the most densely populated suburbs in Australia.

"The New Year's Test is the single largest sporting event each year in NSW."

Dodemaide said CV had not discussed Melbourne staging a second Test but Shepherd's comments had "thrown the cat among the pigeons". Melbourne has not hosted two Tests in a summer since 1981.

Dodemaide said the idea was "worth consideration". 

"The timing and the distance between the Tests need to be considered but you never say never," Dodemaide said.

"We're interested in Tony's comments about a second Test in Sydney and a day-night one.

"It's a thought starter in Melbourne and something that will will no doubt cause discussion in our boardroom as well."

Cricket Tasmania chief David Johnston defended his state's right to stage a Test next summer despite a low turnout for the recent match against the West Indies in Hobart. A total of 15,343 watched the three days' play, though two of those days were weekdays.

"We're very keen and think we have every right to hold a Test match and our facilities and our attendances show we're very passionate for cricket in Tasmania and want to continue to have Test cricket played," Johnston said.

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