ENGLAND will be “taking a step into the unknown” when they face West Indies in the historic pink-ball Test.
Fast bowler Stuart Broad revealed that until England’s lone floodlit training session at Edgbaston last night, he had only ever bowled ONE delivery with a pink ball.
That was a demo on Sky TV and he sent the ball flying past the nose of his mate and Sussex all-rounder Luke Wright.
Broad, 31, confessed: “I just don’t know what to expect.
“We have had one training session under lights and that’s it. We’re training at 9am on Wednesday but at no stage are we playing even close to 9am.
“West Indies have played a pink-ball Test in Dubai and against Derbyshire this weekend. So you could say they have an advantage.”
Jonny Bairstow, who has the job of keeping wicket under lights, admits he has little idea how the ball will behave when the match starts on Thursday. He said: “It is going to be a steep learning curve.”
Here SunSport answers the big questions about the first day/night Test match played in this country . . .
crick into place
When does the 2017 domestic cricket season start? Dates, teams & format changes – all the info
‘ENGLAND AXE BOOSTED MARRIAGE’
Ashes hero Kevin Pietersen thanks England cricket bosses for sacking him as it saved his marriage to Liberty X star Jessica Taylor
sting in the tail
South Africa’s ODI against Sri Lanka is stopped after a swarm of BEES invade the pitch… forcing players to hit the deck for safety
over and out
Cricket stars are left in tears as Nottinghamshire Outlaws bowler Luke Fletcher suffers sickening blow to the head on live TV
Former cricketer Craig Kieswetter hoping to make it as a golfer after horrific eye injury forced him to retire
England cricket hero Moeen Ali admits the only other hat-trick he got was in football after making history in emphatic South Africa win
WHAT IS THE POINT OF A DAY/NIGHT TEST?
It is an experiment.
WILL FANS TURN UP?
They do for one-day and T20 games.
WILL IT HAVE THE FEEL OF AUTHENTIC TEST CRICKET?
Red balls do not show up well under lights and white balls clash with players’ kit. Authorities have trialled yellow, orange and green balls — but reckon pink with black stitching are the best.
There have been four previous pink-ball Tests — three in Australia and one in Dubai. A full round of County Championship matches in June used pink balls . . . but it mainly rained.
HOW ARE TICKET SALES GOING?
Very well. Friday and Saturday are sold out — around 23,000 — and more than 20,000 have gone for Thursday. Those figures are 25 per cent up on last year’s daytime Test against Pakistan at Edgbaston.
ARE PINK-BALL TESTS HERE TO STAY?
England are due to play three in the next seven months — at Edgbaston, then Adelaide in December and Auckland next March.
If the match is a success, expect Warwickshire to host another day/night Test in 2018, while Trent Bridge could also be a future venue.
WHAT ARE THE PLAYING TIMES?
Start 2pm, lunch 4pm, second session 4.40pm, tea 6.40pm, third session 7pm to 9pm. Play can continue until 9.30pm to complete the required 90 overs in a day.
If overs need to be made up because of bad weather, play can start at 1.30pm and continue until 10pm. The intervals are still called lunch and tea — so traditional phrases such as “scoring a century before lunch” can apply. The floodlights are scheduled to be turned on during tea.
HOW WILL THE PINK BALL BEHAVE?
The Dukes ball will be used and, although it moves around under lights, bowlers complain that it goes soft quickly and does not maintain a strong shine.
England wicketkeeper Bairstow said: “It’s going to be fascinating to see how it reacts after 60, 70, 80 overs, whether it’s going to reverse or swing conventionally.”
But Dukes boss Dilip Jajodia insisted: “Some of the comments about the ball are ill-informed.
“There is no issue with the pink ball. I’ve been making cricket balls for 45 years and the pink ball is not an alien thing.”
HOW ABOUT SEEING THE THING?
England players have undergone eye tests to make sure they can see the pink ball clearly — and all passed.
But Yorkshire’s Gary Ballance struggles to pick up the pink ball because he is colour blind, although he sees those with black stitching more clearly.
Many players said the pink ball was difficult to see when it ran over the green turf of the outfield.
Bairstow added: “It was an issue but we can’t do anything about it.”
The outfield at Edgbaston will be sprayed to try to reduce dew. Temporary floodlights have been erected in the nets so players can practise while the game is taking place.
WILL TACTICS BE DIFFERENT?
South African skipper Faf du Plessis declared nine wickets down on the first evening of the most recent pink-ball Test in Adelaide — but his bowlers failed to take a wicket in the remaining 12 overs of the day.
Worcestershire promoted tailenders John Hastings and Joe Leach to three and four against Durham to try to whack some boundaries, while Hampshire declared nine down on the first evening against Somerset — but did not take a wicket in the remaining six overs.
Keep up to date with ALL the transfer news and gossip on our blog