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New cricket format attracting fans to Adelaide Oval


STRONG ticket sales ahead of the world-first day/night cricket Test at Adelaide Oval this month have organisers confident of a successful match.

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The cricket world will watch with great interest when Australia plays New Zealand in the inaugural match from November 27 to December 1 in South Australia.

About 65 per cent of pre-sold tickets have so far been snapped up by interstate and international visitors­ – 36 per cent by Victorians, 14 per cent purchased in New South Wales and 5 per cent sold to cricket fans from New Zealand.

The rise of Twenty20 cricket and formatting issues have contributed to dwindling Test match cricket crowds around the world in recent years, prompting the International Cricket Council to allow the day/night format in a bid to arrest the slide.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said he was confident fans would get behind the new format.

“One of the global challenges with Test cricket is that most of the matches outside holiday periods are played on weekdays, in the middle of the day when people are at work and kids are at school,” he said.

“By shifting the playing times, each day’s play can go into the evening and allow people to come in after work or after school to attend the last few hours of play, but also when they get home in other parts of the world or other parts of the country, they can watch the game on TV.”

Last year’s Test match against India at the revamped Adelaide Oval attracted 113,000 fans over the five days. The last time New Zealand played a test in Adelaide, about 57,000 people attended over four days.

A $535 million upgrade to make Adelaide Oval one of the most modern and revered stadiums in the world while maintaining its heritage scoreboard and grassy “hill” was completed in 2014.

The revamp increased seating capacity at the ground to about 54,000, allowing the Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide Power to host Australian rules football matches in the winter.

Sutherland said Adelaide Oval was “the right fit” to host the inaugural day/night Test.

“It's a traditional Test ground, one of the most beautiful grounds in the world but with the recent developments there it really is fit for purpose,” he said.

“We also know that Adelaide is a bit of pilgrimage for cricket fans all over the world and we hope that New Zealand fans as well will come to this first-ever day/night match.”

South Australian Cricket Association chief executive Keith Bradshaw said “fantastic crowds” were expected across the five days of the match following the strong early ticket sales.

“We believe our fans and members will embrace the opportunity to see this world-first match at Adelaide Oval,” Bradshaw said.

“Already South Australians are the highest per capita attendance at Test cricket, we believe this fixture will take that to a whole new level; it will be absolutely outstanding.”

A pink cricket ball will replace the traditional red ball for the match, to allow better visibility for players particularly in twilight and evening sessions.

The controversial ball has been trialled in the domestic first-class competition with mixed reviews.

“All indications from the day-night round of Sheffield Shield matches was that the pink ball has matured and it is technologically advanced now,” Bradshaw said.

“We are very confident that the nature and manner in which the game is played will reflect a traditional Test match.”

Cricket Australia is yet to finalise its schedule for the 2016/17 summer of matches against Pakistan and South Africa. However, Queensland Cricket has said it would be keen to host a day/night Test match in Brisbane following a disappointing crowd at the Gabba  ground to see the Aussies defeat New Zealand in the opening match of the three-Test series last week. 

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