Lord's to host first ever floodlit Test

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The Independent Online

Anybody who fears for the future of Test cricket should be in England next summer. It was confirmed yesterday that there will be eight Tests during the season, three of them at Lord's for the first time since 1912 and one of them possibly at night.

England will play Bangladesh in two Test matches (which might be a case of overkill considering the sides are meeting twice in Bangladesh earlier in the year) and Pakistan in four. There will also be two neutral Tests between Pakistan and Australia, deemed to be home matches for Pakistan.

Lord's will stage a match in all three of the series and it is intended that the Test between England and Bangladesh will be the world's first under floodlights. All that is needed now is successful tests of a pink ball. The MCC, who have been at the forefront of calls for the experiment, intend to hold trials with the ball they have developed in the next few weeks and throughout the winter.

Lord's last staged three Test matches 97 years ago when England, Australia and South Africa competed in a triangular series.

The other neutral Test next summer will be played at the revamped Headingley. Originally, the Yorkshire ground was to stage one of the matches between England and Bangladesh but preferred the neutral one.

Pakistan will not be charged by the England and Wales Cricket Board for holding the series. International cricket in Pakistan is impossible at present because of the political situation and terrorist threat. The TV revenue for the series will go to Pakistan while the grounds, expected to be full, will keep ticket and commercial income.

Keith Bradshaw, MCC chief executive, said: "MCC supports the view that Test cricket is the pinnacle of the game, which is why we bid competitively to secure all Test matches that were on offer to us."

Lancashire, who will hold a Bangladesh Test next summer, have been exonerated for their role in the farcical abandonment of a Twenty20 international at Old Trafford last week. Although the sun was shining, a damp patch at one end led the umpires to declare the surface unsafe.

After what it called an extensive inquiry the ECB are recommending changing the protocol for T20 internationals to include preparing two pitches five metres apart and if necessary moving grounds 24 hours ahead of the match.

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