Lancashire in the pink for day-night experiment

James Anderson is available
James Anderson is available
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Lancashire’s floodlit Specsavers County Championship match against Warwickshire, starting at Edgbaston today, won’t be a new expierience for all of the Red Rose players.

The nine four-day games which get under way today all have 2pm starts, though Lancashire’s in-form batsman Dane Vilas has played longer-format cricket under lights before.

Only four day-night Test matches have ever been played and Vilas was involved in one of them for South Africa against Australia in Adelaide.

A substitute fielder in that Test last November, Vilas said ahead of Lancashire’s First Division visit to the relegation-threatened Bears: “I wouldn’t say I’m accustomed to it but this game certainly isn’t going to be a brand new experience.

“I also played a four-day game for South Africa A last year against Australia A.

“That was a pink ball, albeit a Kookaburr. From what I hear, the Dukes ball is going to be quite different to the Kooka.

“I really like how the Dukes ball plays here in England, so I’m looking forward to the challenges it’s going to bring.

“I’ve got on the field a couple of times under lights , and it was great be involved in our first Test in those conditions.”

The pink-ball floodlit concept for first-class matches remains controversial but Vilas is in the pro camp.

The 32-year-old said: “You always want to test your skills playing in different conditions. Playing a four-day game under lights with a pink ball is different. It makes things exciting and I think it has got a place in cricket.

“If that’s what the people want, we have to move with the times and give them what they want.”

Vilas, who is playing for Lancashire on a Kolpak registration after retiring from international cricket, hit a career best 244 in last week’s innings win over Hampshire at Emirates Old Trafford.

That lifted the Red Rose to second place in the Championship table, 14 points behind Essex, while Warwickshire sit bottom without a win after six matches.

England duo Jimmy Anderson and Jos Buttler are both available for Lancashire, as is Haseeb Hameed.

Liam Livingstone and Saqib Mahmood have been selected for the England Lions to face South Africa’s Test team in a four-day match at Worcester, starting on Thursday.

Livingstone can play the first two days at Edgbaston but Mahmood is unavailable for all four.