“Is it that important for English players to be good at it?” Bailey on day/night games

Hampshire captain George Bailey believes that day/night Test matches will not be played in England long-term despite the ECB trialling the format in this week’s Specsavers County Championship fixtures.

A pink ball was used in each of the nine matches to test day/night cricket – and to give England’s players a chance to practice in the conditions – ahead of an August Test against the West Indies.

But Bailey thinks that it will only work in other countries.

“I would have thought you’re not going to play day/night tests in England. I think day/night test cricket has a future in other countries but probably not here.

“So given that, is it that important for your English players to be good at it and is it so different that they wouldn’t be able to get enough exposure to it just playing a couple of tour games when they went to those countries, that they were going to play the tests at?

“The one thing I have said back home, that I continue to repeat, is I don’t think the ball is the same quality as the red ball and so I’d keep urging whoever is involved in that to keep trying to get that to be a better cricket ball.”

Bailey was speaking after his side’s draw with Somerset, who narrowly avoided defeat in the final session of a rain affected game.

Chasing 161 in the final 31 overs of the day, Steven Davies hit 47 to give his side hope but players shook hands with Somerset eight wickets down, Josh Davey and Craig Overton the not out batsmen as the visitors’ rearguard action salvaged five points.

“I had my heart in my mouth a little bit when they started to get a bit of a partnership but we’d seen all game it was so difficult to score and particularly as the ball got older, it became really difficult to score,” Bailey said.

“It was hard to drive under lights so we thought there was enough in our favour if we could put them under a little bit of pressure, and our bowlers have done a really good job all game.

“[It was] heartbreaking at the end when you only need two wickets and you feel like you’re on top, but in terms of the manner of the way we played, that was really pleasing.”

The result leaves Hampshire level on points with third-placed Yorkshire, while Somerset move off the foot of the table, now two points ahead of Warwickshire.

Coach Matthew Maynard expressed his relief over saving the match, but is concerned with how the team continues to bat. They have passed 300 just once in their last ten innings.

“We always knew it was going to be a challenging task and probably only one of our batsmen actually looked at ease out there, scoring at the rate required, and that was Steve Davies. Everyone else struggled to hit the ball.

“To be fair I thought they kept the pressure and applied the pressure. We’re obviously down on confidence, but the guys actually went out there – players like Eddie Byrom and Hildi [James Hildreth], they’ve tried to get the ball away and it was their undoing in the end, and likewise with Steve.

“It was quite a slow wicket and quite a hard wicket to score on, so yeah, relieved. Nice to get the draw but disappointed overall with our batting performance through both innings again.”

 

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