With the first ever day/night Test match being played in November in Adelaide between Australia and New Zealand, preparations have begun in the Kiwi camp to perfect the performance with the newly introduced pink ball. The very idea of a day/night Test match has created an immense amount of debate and conversation, both positive and negative. However, the green light has been given for this historic Test and the New Zealand players are leaving nothing to chance.
Blackcaps prepare for inaugural Day/Night Test
With the highly anticipated return of fast bowler Trent Boult, who has been out for three months after picking up a stress injury in the back, the Kiwi bowlers are using any and every opportunity to test out the pink ball — a ball that has been compared to a hockey ball or indoor cricket ball out the hand.
Boult has expressed scepticism in the past about the practicality of the format but claims he is ready to embrace the challenge and become part of history. Fellow quick bowler, Matt Henry, along with spin bowler Mark Craig have further voiced their approval of the tour as well as the opportunity to challenge the world champions in their own backyard under such unique circumstances.
New Zealand have had the opportunity to test out the ball, described as containing a few aspects of the traditional red Test ball but mainly mimicking the limited overs white ball, during a warm-up match in Hamilton this past week. Multiple players including vice-captain Kane Williamson and Test wicket-keeper BJ Watling admitted it will take some time for their team to adapt to the new ball and the new conditions.
In the two-day warm-up game at Seddon Park, the players were given the chance to experiment with spin bowling, bounce and how well the ball swung in the drastically different conditions to regular Test cricket. Catching the ball under lights was made a priority but proved to be of little challenge to the team who have been recognised multiple times in the past for their excellence in the field.
One player who will be missing from their preparations is fearless leader Brendon McCullum, who is currently in London acting as a witness in the Chris Cairns perjury trial. But there is no shortage of leaders within the camp, with vice-captain Williamson likely to take the reins in his absence.
The Blackcaps will have further opportunities to practice with the pink ball under lights when they play upcoming warm-up games in Australia leading up to this highly anticipated Test match next month.