(Photo: Getty Images)
By Matt Wright
Whatever the future of pink-ball cricket is in this country, this has certainly been a week to remember, not least for Alex Wakely, after the Northamptonshire captain’s superb century against Leicestershire.
In what was one of the finest knocks of his career to date, Wakely blasted 112 off just 121 balls in Northants’ second innings, to give them the ascendency on day three of the contest.
It’s been a step into the unknown for many cricketers and it’s up in the air as to whether day-night cricket in the County Championship is here to stay.
If it is something that the ECB are to persist with, then Wakely believes there has to be a level playing field.
He said: “If you knew that everybody had two games in a row [under floodlights] then at least you’d know that everyone would be in the same position.
“I think it would be very unfair if that didn’t happen and some teams played one home game under lights and some people not.
“On the first day, under the lights for the evening session, it looked like we had a decent crowd in and we had a nice atmosphere, which you don’t always get for a Championship game.
“The novelty is a one-off, it’s worth giving it a go.”
There may be some involved in Northants’ hierarchy that wish this match could have taken place during last week’s heatwave, as it may have persuaded more spectators to witness this ‘experiment’.
It was a novelty to see the final ball of day three bowled at 9:57pm, but people shouldn’t really be left shivering in grounds at the end of June, as was the case here.
Leicestershire’s South African all-rounder Colin Ackermann is unsure as to whether this format can truly take off in England, due to this country’s unpredictable climate.
Ackermann said: “As soon as the temperature drops, the grass maybe stands up a bit more and the bowlers can really hit the seam and get that sideways movement. That definitely is a factor.
“It might [work] better in other countries, depending on the quality of lights, which might influence the outcome of the games.”
Result: Northants (261 & 289-7d) beat Leicestershire (157 & 391) by 2 runs