The Cricketer
Owen Riley Owen Riley

DAY-NIGHT TEST CRICKET: A BRIEF HISTORY

Edgbaston hosts cricket's fifth day-night Test match

Adelaide hosts first day-night Test

27-29 November 2015 | New Zealand 202 & 208 lost to Australia 224 & 187 for 7 by three wickets, Adelaide

A low-scoring affair saw Australia win the inaugural day-night Test by three wickets at a packed Adelaide Oval. Day one saw an attendance of 47,441, with in excess of 123,000 people coming through the gates across the three days.

Mitchell Starc was the man to bowl the first ever pink-ball Test delivery, he would go on to remove New Zealand’s key men in the form of Kane Williamson and Brendon McCullum as the visitors posted a first-innings total of 202.

In response Australia put on 108 for their final two wickets to drag themselves from the depths of 116 for 8 to 224 all out.

Josh Hazlewood’s second-innings figures of 6 for 70 reduced New Zealand to 208 all out, leaving Australia 187 to win.

The pink ball looked absolutely no fun for batsman in the twilight hours. Trent Boult was an excellent of exponent of it, taking 5 for 60 in Australia’s chase, but middle order stands of 49 between Shaun Marsh and Adam Voges, and 46 between Marsh and his brother Mitchell nudged the Baggy Greens towards victory with three wickets in hand.

Mitchell Starc bowled the first ball in day-night Test cricket

Ali triple trumps Bravo’s brilliance

13-17 October 2016 | Pakistan 579 for 3d & 123 beat West Indies 357 & 289 by 56 runs, Dubai

The first day-night Test outside of Australia saw Azhar Ali become the first cricketer to score a hundred in the format, he went on to score an unbeaten 302. Yasir Shah claimed a five-for as Pakistan secured a 222-run first-innings lead.

Devendra Bishoo arrives on the scene...

The West Indies bowler produced career-best figures of 8 for 49 as Pakistan were bundled out for 123 in 31.5 overs. That still left West Indies needing 345 to win. Darren Bravo shared half-century stands with Leon Johnson, Roston Chase and Jason Holder as he clocked up his eighth Test hundred. Bravo finally fell for 116, an innings 249 deliveries in length, and West Indies’ hopes of securing their second-highest winning chase faded.

While the entertainment on the field headed towards a thrilling climax, the crowds were poor with a paltry 68 in attendance for the first session. Crowds peaked at 2,400 with an estimated 6,000 making it into the ground across the five days meaning a very meagre handful witnessed Ali's triple-century.

Azhar! Pakistan's Azhar Ali scored day-night Test's first century

Mint captaincy from fresh-breath Faf

24-27 November 2016 | South Africa 259 for 9d & 250 lost to Australia 383 & 127 for 3 by seven wickets, Adelaide

With comprehensive victories at Perth and Hobart, South Africa had already won the three-match series when the two teams drew swords under lights at Adelaide.

The lead up had been dominated by Faf du Plessis’ fine for ball tampering – applying saliva to the ball while simultaneously enjoying a mint at Hobart.

While his team-mates struggled and after being booed en route to the middle, Faf responded with an unbeaten century on day one, before making an early declaration with South Africa 259 for 9. David Warner had been off the field for treatment to an injury, the Proteas skipper’s declaration meant the left-hander could not open as he had not been back on the field for the required length of time. Innovative stuff from Faf.

It worked in a sense, with Warner being dismissed for 11 at No.3, but his temporary replacement opening the batting – Usman Khawaja – hit his fifth Test century.

A second-innings hundred from Stephen Cook was not enough to drag South Africa back into contention, Australia knocking off 127 with seven wickets to spare.

Faf gets funky with declarations

Shafiq’s “courage and funk” lights up the Gabba

15-19 December 2016 | Australia 429 & 202 for 5d beat Pakistan 142 & 450 by 39 runs, Brisbane

Day-night Test cricket’s most recent performance was not one to forget as Australia and Pakistan played out a Brisbane belter.

You can add Asad Shafiq, alongside TS Eliot, to the list of those who do not believe in lost causes. With Pakistan staring down the barrel of a 490-run chase – one that would have eclipsed West Indies’ victorious 418 for 7 v Australia at St John’s in 2002/03 – Shafiq stood tall.

Arriving at the Gabba crease with the scoreboard reading 165 for 4, his task was made that much more improbable when Younis Khan was caught behind attempting to reverse sweep Nathan Lyon, leaving the tourists teetering at 173 for 5.

By the end of day four Shafiq had moved to 100 not out, Pakistan to 382 for 8, with 108 needed on day five to pull off a remarkable chase.

There were double-teapots from Australia’s agitated captain, Steve Smith – who had dropped Shafiq on 72 – as the reprieved batsman and Yasir Shah chipped away at the required total. But it was not to be.

With 41 required Shafiq finally fell. Mitchell Starc, angled in a devilish bouncer which squared him up and nicked the shoulder of the blade, looping to David Warner at gully. 

The resistance was over, but those in Brisbane had witnessed an imperious effort and a gripping Test match under lights.

Shafiq became the first player to register nine Test hundreds batting at No.6, surpassing Garry Sobers’ eight. It was his 10th Test hundred in all, earning him the man of the match award in a losing cause.

At 30 years old Shafiq was a relative infant in that ageing Pakistan outfit, but his captain, Misbah, lauded his efforts as a display of “courage and funk”. 

Shafiq's superb Brisbane stand

Future day-night Test fixtures

17 - 21 August 2017 | England v West Indies, Edgbaston

19 - 23 October 2017 | Pakistan v Sri Lanka, Dubai

9 - 12 November 2017 | Australia women v England women, North Sydney Oval

2 - 6 December 2017 | Australia v England, Adelaide

22 - 26 March 2018 | New Zealand v England, Auckland *Subject to confirmation