YEARS AGO Viv Richards made a regal descent by helicopter on to the Stamford Bridge pitch, followed by rain. London's second attempt at floodlight cricket, last year at The Oval, was washed away before it began. But Surrey have bravely persisted, and the day-night county game has arrived in the metropolis. Ironically, for all the promotion, it featured the sides battling for the AXA League wooden spoon.
The sky-divers were confined to barracks by the breeze but the other trappings of circus cricket came to South London - resting actors perspired in animal costumes, jazz was played, cheerleaders strutted and drizzle fell. Luckily, even the drizzle cleared the arena before the start. A substantial crowd attended the spectacle which Surrey will re-stage against Derbyshire tomorrow night.
Given that Surrey are close to the Championship title, but know they are doomed to the second division of next year's one-day league, it was understandable but disappointing that they added fit stars to their sick list - Alec Stewart and Saqlain Mushtaq took the evening off while Ben Hollioake and Martin Bicknell mentioned vague injuries. Adam Hollioake chose to bat first in what daylight remained.
Surrey never kept pace after profiting from two loose James Kirtley overs, while Sussex's seamers - notably Mark Robinson and Robin Martin-Jenkins - exploited a tricky track. But late enterprise from Jonathon Batty and Ian Salisbury hauled the hosts to a respectable 143.
The weather had not withdrawn its threat, however, and after losing two early wickets Sussex's main task was to keep on the right side of Duckworth- Lewis and their fiendish equation. They have two such rugged campaigners in Chris Adams, who scored 64 not out, and Michael Bevan that this season's sorry performance in limited-over cricket remains a mystery.
These two experienced batsmen scampered just ahead of the returning drizzle, always improving the run-rate while vitally preserving their wickets. By the end, it was a one-sided affair, but the size of the crowd suggests that, given a fair wind, nocturnal cricket has a future.
l Glamorgan ended Warwickshire's faint hopes of retaining the AXA title with a 38-run win under Duckworth-Lewis in a rain-affected, floodlit game before 7,000 crowd at Edgbaston last night. Glamorgan's 172 for 5 in 36 overs was increased to a victory target of 185 after an interruption for heavy drizzle.Reuse content