Day-nighter passes Test at Adelaide Oval
Officials have been tickled pink by the reaction to the first day/night Test in Adelaide, with figures showing it was the match that stopped a nation.
After dour games in Brisbane and Perth on wickets that clearly favoured the batsmen, the historic Test in Adelaide proved to be a thriller with Australia enduring plenty of anxious moments before triumphing by just three wickets late on day three to take the series against New Zealand 2-0.
It certainly caught the interest of fans at home, with more than 3.1 million tuning in to watch Peter Siddle hit the winning runs.
While that fell short of the numbers for the AFL and NRL grand finals in early October, and the Cricket World Cup final between the same teams in March, Sunday night's peak audience surpassed the viewing figures for this year's Melbourne Cup.
Attendance at the match also justified the experiment, with more than 124,000 turning up over the three days, the biggest crowd since the Bodyline series in 1932-33 and more than double the total attendance of 53,572 that watched the first Test at the Gabba.
How much of that was down to the curiosity factor would be hard to determine.
But Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland wasn't worried about that, throwing his support behind a day-night Test against South Africa at the Gabba next summer.
"We are really keen on continuing this and it's something we want to see in the future," he said.
"The Gabba is a good option and have upgraded their lights, and I would have thought a balmy Test would be a pretty good place to watch cricket."
Buoyed by the response to the inaugural match in Adelaide, the South Australian Cricket Association is also negotiating to host another day-nighter against Pakistan next summer.
Before all those details are worked out, however, Australia needs to prepare to take on the West Indies in a three-Test series starting in Hobart next Thursday.
The West Indies squad, led by young captain Jason Holder and re-instated coach Phil Simmons, has arrived in Australia and will prepare for the opening Test with a four-day match against a Cricket Australia XI at Allan Border Field in Brisbane, starting tomorrow.
Holder, 24, admitted his young squad needed to improve on its performances on the recent tour of Sri Lanka where the hosts won the Test series 2-0, the ODI series 3-0 and split the T20 games 1-1.
He also said he had watched the series between Australia and New Zealand, and had identified some deficiencies in the new-look Aussie line-up.
"I thought New Zealand was in with a chance in most of the games - I saw some weaknesses I thought we could exploit," Holder said.
"If we get some early wickets we can get guys like Shaun Marsh, who are trying to work their way back into the side, under pressure."