First day-night Ashes Test set for Adelaide
SYDNEY: Australia will host England at the Adelaide Oval in the first day-night Ashes Test during the 2017-18 series, building on the success of the concept despite lingering concerns.
The series between the arch-rivals opens at the Gabba in Brisbane from November 23 before heading to Adelaide then Perth. Melbourne hosts the traditional Boxing Day Test with Sydney rounding it off, Cricket Australia announced Tuesday.
This is followed by five one-day internationals between January 14-28 before a Twenty20 tri-series also involving New Zealand, to be played on both side of the Tasman.
Adelaide hosted the first-ever Test under lights using a pink ball last year and it was a roaring success, with record attendances for the clash against New Zealand.
Buoyed by the public reaction, the same venue was used for a day-night Test against South Africa last month, while Australia face Pakistan under lights in the first Test at Brisbane this week.
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said Adelaide fans loved Test cricket under the stars and he expected a full house next year.
“I know there are some people who don’t view the day-night Test match as something that’s needed for Ashes cricket,” Sutherland said.
“But we think there is going to be more day-night cricket coming up and the success of Adelaide in the last two matches is there for all to see.”
Australian captain Steve Smith and his England counterpart Alastair Cook both suggested earlier this year that the Ashes should remain a traditional red-ball affair.
Smith has since changed his tune after this year’s day-night Test against the Proteas.
While the Gabba has long been the first Test on the Australian summer calendar, it lost that right to Perth this year.
Sutherland said Perth had been pushed back to mid-December for the Ashes to give it more time to complete construction of the new 60,000-seat Perth Stadium. If it is not ready, the match will revert to the WACA Ground.
“We’re very comfortable with the traditional order, and let’s be honest, this venue is a real stronghold for the Australian team,” he said of the Gabba.
Sutherland added that given the slightly later-than-usual start to the series, the schedule allowed for at least three Sheffield Shield matches to be played before the Brisbane opener as preparation.
A lack of Shield cricket was one of the reasons blamed for Australia suffering a run of five heavy Test defeats this year, before a new-look side ended the slump by beating South Africa last month.
Schedule for the 2017-18 Ashes series:
First Test – November 23-27 at the Gabba in Brisbane
Second Test – December 2-6, Adelaide Oval (day-night)
Third Test – December 14-18, Perth (venue TBC)
Fourth Test – December 26-30, Melbourne Cricket Ground
Fifth Test – January 4-8, Sydney Cricket Ground
Australia v England one-day series (2018)
First ODI – January 14, Melbourne Cricket Ground
Second ODI – January 19, the Gabba in Brisbane
Third ODI – January 21, Sydney Cricket Ground
Fourth ODI – January 26, Adelaide Oval
Fifth ODI – January 28, Perth (venue TBC)