Day/night tests mean new rules for oldest format

The Zimbabwe cricket national team.
The Zimbabwe cricket national team.
Image: Zimbabwe Cricket via Facebook

Cricketminded types looking forward to the brave new world of four-day‚ day/night test cricket might want to swot up on the regulations that will become part of their reality when South Africa take on Zimbabwe at St George’s Park on December 26.

Play will start at 1.30pm‚ Cricket South Africa said in a release on Wednesday‚ and is scheduled to end at 9pm.

Tea will be taken at 4.05pm and supper at 6.20pm‚ and 98 overs are scheduled to be bowled per day/night — up by eight from a regular test.

That adds up to a total of 392‚ or 58 fewer than the 450 overs planned for a five-day match.

As is the case in other four-day cricket‚ teams who dismiss their opponents with a lead of more than 150 runs have the option of enforcing the follow-on. The benchmark in five-day games is 200 runs.

A new ball will be available after 80 overs‚ as it is in other first-class cricket.

But it seems the ball doesn’t have to be pink.

That’s according to the playing conditions as set out by the International Cricket Council: “ … for day-night test matches‚ the precise brand‚ type and colour of ball shall be subject to prior approval of the visiting board”.

The playing conditions also say‚ “For televised matches the home board may provide a slightly larger cylindrical stump to accommodate the stump camera. When the larger stump is used‚ all three stumps must be exactly the same size.”

Does that mean the combined width of the three stumps might sometimes be more than the nine inches‚ or 22.9 centimetres‚ the wicket has measured since sheep would mow the outfield at Lord’s?

Not so fast‚ bowlers of the world.

“Even if the bigger stumps are used the total width of the wicket will still be nine inches‚” umpire Shaun George said on Wednesday.

So‚ when the bigger stumps are deployed the individual stumps are moved a smidgen closer to each other.

That sigh you might hear is the relief of batsmen everywhere.

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