Gabba set to host pink-ball Shield game
THE first Test against Pakistan in December will not be the only day-night action in the longer format in Brisbane this summer.
Cricket Australia's general manager of team performance, Pat Howard, revealed to Australian Regional Media the Queensland Bulls are set to host a round-one, day-night Sheffield Shield match with the pink ball before the eagerly anticipated day-night Test.
Like last season, all Australian Test players will have a chance to acclimatise to the pink ball - which has divided many opinions - under lights.
That means this summer's entire first round of Sheffield Shield action is likely to be played in the day-night format.
Australia will take on Pakistan under lights with a pink ball at the Gabba from December 15 in a match officials hope will revive Brisbane's interest in the long format of the game, after crowds at its Tests have dwindled in recent years.
Cricket Australia was delighted with the huge crowds and interest generated by the inaugural day-night Test against New Zealand in Adelaide last summer.
"I can see the first round of Shield being here (at the Gabba) and making sure that's day-night, with players like Joe Burns (and other Australian Test players to acclimatise to the conditions)," Howard told ARM.
Howard said Cricket Australia wanted "a few more tests" of how players adjust to pink-ball day-night cricket at the Gabba - where the ball is expected to swing in humid conditions at night, after its recent $1 million lighting upgrade.
"We want to make sure the players are used to it by the time of the Test, and for our competitors as well," Howard said.
It was announced this summer's day-night Test was part of an agreement for the venue to host international cricket for the next three years under a partnership between Cricket Australia, the Queensland Government and Brisbane City Council.
While former Australian fast bowler Ryan Harris initially expressed concerns about playing a Test under lights at the Gabba, opening batsman Joe Burns is one player who doesn't seem to hold any reservations about facing a pink ball under lights at the venue.
"Pakistan's got some guys that bowl fast and swing it. I think it's going to be well suited for the Gabba," he said.
"I'm looking forward to it. The fact we're talking about it now just shows how exciting it is.
"I'm sure the Queensland fans are going to come out in force.
"I think day-night Test cricket is a fantastic concept. In Adelaide we saw that.
"It's tremendously exciting playing in front of sold-out stadiums for days straight."