Jonny Bairstow: England excited about pink-ball cricket


Jonny Bairstow: England excited about pink-ball cricket

England will get their first taste of a day-night Test when they take on the West Indies at Edgbaston in Birmingham on Thursday for the first of the three-match series.

Opener Mark Stoneman will make his debut, while Tom Westley and Dawid Malan will look to cement places at numbers three and five respectively. Now there may be a star in that middle order capable of supporting the tenacious Kraigg Brathwaite at the top - Chase has started his Test career impressively - but one can not be sure of that.

"So I expect good things from the batters (as well)".

In 137 years since the first time a Test was played in England in 1880 at The Oval and the first Ashes Test in 1884 at Old Trafford this day-night Test is a kind of a preamble for England, who are scheduled to play in Australia during the Ashes series starting this November.

Chris Woakes may find himself playing alongside Stoneman this week at Edgbaston, where the latter is inked in as Alastair Cook's 12th opening partner since the retirement of Andrew Strauss five years ago.

Like some have pointed out, a day-night format also forces a break from traditions - which England tends holds as highly as the actual sport itself. Players like Ben Stokes have had a chance to see what it is like in domestic cricket, though a lot of English players don't seem to have very positive opinions of it. Australia has already featured in three of the four already played against New Zealand, South Africa at the Adelaide Oval winning both by three and seven wickets respectively in 2015 and the following year.

Uncapped leg-spinner Mason Crane also misses out. Several of the West Indies squad have banked one day-night Test experience, in the contrasting climes of Dubai where they lost narrowly to Pakistan, thanks to a triple-century from the hosts' Azhar Ali last October.

It often takes players time to calm down from the buzz of a floodlit one-day worldwide, with the fact there is a free day afterwards mitigating the problems that may throw up.

Why is the ball pink?

"Ideally you want someone to come in and set the world alight and their career move forward from there", said Root of Stoneman.

Red balls do not show up well under lights and white balls clash with players' kit. "It might be slightly different when the lights come on", said the 26-year-old. "We don't know if this is going to be the first of many or whether it's a one-off but we thought it was easier to explain". He has a vast knowledge of the game and has done some good work.

He added: "Speaking from the heart as a West Indian, I'm hoping they can at least win a match or compete".

The England side is due to practice under lights today evening.

"I still believe if we had all those names, our cricket would be better", he said of the side who are eighth in the Test rankings, above only Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. "They're viewed as a side who have some very talented players who can produce match-winning performances". It goes against everything that Test cricket has ever been. They did hold England to a 1-1 draw in the Caribbean two years ago, however, inspired in part by comments from the European Central Bank chairman, Colin Graves, referring to them as "mediocre".

Darren Bravo anchored the chase with a polished 116, but with West Indies still 83 runs away, he lobbed a return catch to Yasir and that opened the floodgates as the remaining three wickets were consumed soon.

Most are back at home playing in the Caribbean Premier League T20 competition.

Team (from): Jason Holder (c), Kraigg Brathwaite, Devendra Bishoo, Jermaine Blackwood, Roston Chase, Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Shimron Hetmyer, Kyle Hope, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Kieran Powell, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach.

"I think people are writing the West Indies off too early, and it could be at their own peril", Garner warned.

"England are the favourites, they have just beaten South Africa 3-1 - and South Africa are a better team than the West Indies at the moment".