Sydney: Australia and England will play the first day-night Ashes Test at Adelaide Oval in December next year, adding a bold new ingredient to one of cricket’s oldest and fiercest rivalries.
The pink ball Test from December 2-6 will be the second match of the 2017-18 series with Brisbane’s Gabba hosting the opener from November 23-27. Perth will host the third Test from December 14-18 either at the new Perth Stadium or, if the 60,000-seater arena is not ready in time, back at the 15,000-capacity WACA. Melbourne and Sydney will stage the traditional Boxing Day (December 26-30) and New Year’s (January 4-8) matches respectively to round out the series.
England will also play one-day internationals in the same five cities in January 2018, while New Zealand will co-host a Twenty20 series involving all three countries in February. Australia has hosted two pink ball Tests in Adelaide, beating New Zealand last year and South Africa last month, while the Gabba will host a third against Pakistan starting on Thursday.
England are to host their first day-night Test next August at Edgbaston against West Indies.
“We’re really excited to announce that Adelaide will play host to the first ever day-night Ashes Test,” said Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland, who has been a driving force behind the adoption of pink-ball cricket.
“We know how much Adelaide fans love this style of Test cricket. We’re expecting a full house next year in what is sure to be a great contest.”
Even if small crowds are rarely a problem when England are Down Under, Sutherland has been keen to point out that the first two Tests played under lights were huge commercial successes with bumper TV audiences and large numbers attending. Alastair Cook, the England captain, said earlier this year he was against playing an Ashes Test under lights in comments echoed by Australia counterpart Steve Smith.
Both felt the traditional rivalry, the oldest in world cricket, generated enough interest.
Smith came around during last month’s match against South Africa, played with an improved Kookaburra pink ball on a modified wicket, which allowed more of a contest between bat and ball than the maiden day-night Test in 2015. England hold the Ashes after beating Australia 3-2 on home soil in 2015.