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Pink ball makes LVCC debut

Kent and Glamorgan made history on Monday 12 September in Canterbury as they began the first ever, day-night LV County Championship match.

The St. Lawrence Ground played host to the first ever first-class match in the UK to be played under floodlights, with a pink Tiflex ball in use for the first innings.

The match, originally scheduled to start at 10.30am began instead at 2pm, with the floodlights coming into operation from 5.30pm.

The England and Wales Cricket Board approached both clubs last week about the possibility of switching the match to a day-night affair, which both accepted.

‘In at the deep end’
Kent won the toss and elected to bowl on the opening day but quickly found themselves in trouble against the visitors’ spin attack, subsiding to 70-4.

A fighting innings by opener Joe Denly, who made 69, helped them recover to 129 but his departure left them struggling on what was proving to be a sluggish track.

A good partnership between young batsman Adam Ball and former England wicket-keeper Geraint Jones helped Kent into the ‘evening’ session.

Ball then fell to impressive Glamorgan seamer John Glover after surviving what he agreed was a tough initiation to day-night, first-class cricket.

“We were thrown in at the deep end basically!” said the 18-year-old all-rounder.

However, he added that he had no problems picking up the pink ball: “It was obviously different before tea and coming out after tea with the lights having taken over."

“But the conditions didn’t really change once the lights took over and a couple of the boys were saying it was coming on better with the dew on the pitch making it skid on a bit.

“The pink ball is fine to see, I had no problems picking it up.

“It’s different to a red or white ball though. Some of the boys said it went a bit soft early on but that is a problem with all the Tiflex balls.”

Ball admitted some of the more experienced players in the Kent dressing room had been unsure of the idea, but still found the experience enjoyable.

He added: “I’m a youngster coming up into the game and I think it’s quite good in terms of, not so much entertainment; but it’s something different playing with a pink ball under lights.”

Pink future?
MCC has led the research into the possibility of playing day-night Test cricket in the future, with the pink ball currently the most viable option.

The past two season opening matches between MCC and the Champion County have been played in day-night conditions in Abu Dhabi.

Both the ECB and the ICC have been receptive to the possibility of day-night cricket at Test level in the future.

MCC Head of Cricket John Stephenson, who was in Canterbury for the opening day, recently revealed that he is in talks with New Zealand Cricket about the possibility of the first day-night Test taking place in January 2012.

The MCC World Cricket Committee, which has driven Club's research, believes the format is best suited for Tests overseas where attendances are dwindling.

Despite some concerns over the precise conditions of the current match, the Club is encouraged by the ECB's decision to push forward their own trials with day-night first-class cricket.

Kent Chief Executive Jamie Clifford, who accepted the ECB offer to move the match, was receptive to the new format and its future possibilities.

He said: "There has been a mixed reaction from the Members and it has all been a bit rushed which is a slight regret.

"But I’m a big believer in trying anything which might progress the game. I’m also enthusiastic about allowing more people the chance to watch County Championship cricket."


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