Floodlit future looking bright

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The Independent Online

The International Cricket Council has backed the use of floodlights in Tests, despite criticism from England after they were forced to field in the dark on the fourth day of the final Test in Auckland.

Under new ICC regulations allowing the use of floodlights, New Zealand took advantage of the Eden Park lights to establish a 311-run advantage, after reaching 269 for 9 at the close having earlier refused the offer of bad light.

Graham Thorpe claimed the lights did not help England in the field and insisted it was difficult to see the red ball against the background of the stadium. However, Mark Harris, of the ICC, said although floodlights were not "perfect", they were of benefit overall.

"Since the use of floodlights in Test cricket became at the discretion of umpires, more games have been started and more games have been given the chance to be completed," he said. "It is not always appropriate to use them but they have assisted more play and will continue to assist and that has to be a benefit – even though they cannot be perfect."

The new rules relating to floodlit Tests transferred the decision from the team captains to the umpires.

Regulation 3.3 states: "If in the opinion of the umpires, natural light is deteriorating to an unfit level, they shall authorise the ground authorities to use the available artificial lighting so that the match can continue in acceptable conditions."