Cricket looks lovely under the lights. Something about those whites, that pink, about the way Steve Smith’s butt lit up like a firefly as the Zing bails went flashing through the air as his wicket fell. All very dramatic. Perfect for the television cameras and the audience at home.
For those at the Adelaide Oval, however, not so much. If we judge the success of an event by bums on seats, then the verdict is out on day-night Test matches. Ashes Test matches, certainly, do not need a gimmick, or an additional hard sell. They hold their own in the marketplace.
As did this one, with the official attendance topping 55,000. Yet by the end, no more than a third of that figure remained. The tense final session, when dusk turns to dark and the bowlers traditionally do their worst, was witnessed by the sort of crowd that might more typically turn out for a Monday morning.
Steve Smith's dismissal would have been perfect for the cameras and viewers at home
And this was Saturday, remember. Few would have to be up early for work, and there was no bigger show in town.
Had this been a day-day Test match, the final session would have been raucous, rocking, as it was on the Saturday in Brisbane, when trembling English batsmen finally succumbed to Australian pressure and pace.
Here, the climax of another see-saw day – honours even, England hope – was marked by the buzz of conversation, as locals and tourists decided whether to take an early cut. There was row upon row of empty seats, particularly in the top tier, others occupied by pockets of two or three hardy souls.
The ECB and Cricket Australia are said to want more of this, but it is hard to see why. Even the novelty value appears to have worn off, after several experiments of this kind.
But the top tiers of the stands at the Adelaide Oval emptied during Saturday's action
Maybe the occasion will come alive when the hosts have ball in hand late and have it zipping around the throats of Englishmen, but the working week may interfere on days two through five. This was it. This was day-night Test