South Australia 3 for 3 (Starc 2-1) trail New South Wales 9 for 262 dec (Warner 77, Smith 67, Head 3-42) by 259 runs
Tactical declarations and new-ball bowling under lights will be prevalent during the Adelaide day/night Test if a seesaw day one of the Sheffield Shield match between New South Wales and South Australia is anything to go by.
The Redbacks’ top order was destroyed by likely Test bowlers Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood after the NSW and Australia captain Steve Smith closed the Blues’ faltering first innings shortly before the scheduled close.
Starc and Hazlewood had the new pink ball bending around corners on a muggy evening, accounting for Kelvin Smith, Callum Ferguson and Mark Cosgrove within the first three overs.
The Blues had squandered a strong start after Smith chose to bat in natural light, watched by a small crowd notable for its many key broadcasting and cricket operations observers testing out Adelaide ahead of next month’s historic five-day fixture.
After Ed Cowan squandered a start, Smith and the fit-again David Warner combined for the sort of stand they may need to make a habit of to keep a young Australian side afloat this summer. Warner managed the pain of a still healing thumb well enough in his 77, while Smith mixed watchful defence with the odd fidgety flourish.
SA’s pacemen gave way to spin and medium-pace as the pink ball grew soft, and the Warner-Smith stand was broken by the spin of SA captain Travis Head, who claimed the wickets of both senior men plus Nic Maddinson in an impish display.
Joe Mennie followed up sturdily, as the NSW middle order struggled to find any momentum against tight bowling and ring fields. Ultimately Smith preferred to declare before stumps rather than letting a meandering innings play out, a decision that would be richly rewarded.
Twelve wickets and 265 runs illustrated that the day/night format will be a test of patience but also a game of fortune, as the new ball at night is likely to be the 21st century equivalent of being caught batting on an uncovered wicket.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.