Two former Aussie Test stars – including a former captain – have called for a shake-up to the “soft” bad light rules that saw players come off the ground 40 minutes before rain arrived at the SCG.
On day one of the third Test between Australia and South Africa at the SCG, players came from the field during the drinks break mid-way through the afternoon session.
Rain did eventually come and tea was officially taken. Play was then set to return at 3.45pm (AEDT), and players were already on their way to the middle when they were sent back as light once again deteriorated.
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Weather forecasts had for days predicted the Sydney Test would once again be rain-affected.
Speaking on Fox Sports, former captain Allan Border said he had been calling for change for decades.
“The light is good with the lights on – you could play in this light in my opinion,” he said.
“I’ve been arguing this case for 20 odd years – the current light rule is too soft. We come off too easily when it darkens up in the afternoon.
“It’s something the game needs to look at a lot more closely, as to when it does become dangerous when it becomes difficult to see.”
Minutes earlier, players were given a 3.45pm re-start time, but were sent back to the sheds as they were on their way back to the ground as light had once again worsened.
After scoring just 63 runs in the first session, Marnus Labuschagne and Usman Khawaja put on 75 in the hour between lunch and light being called.
Just before the call was made, Khawaja admitted batting was difficult.
“Do you have a glow-in-the-dark ball up there?,” he asked commentators.
“It’s gotten really dark – it probably will go away but they’ve got some very fast bowlers coming down making it very tough. We’ll just have to grind through,” he said.
Mark Waugh said he believed if the lights were on, play should continue.
“Once the lights are on, we stay on. It’s as simple as that,” he said on Fox Sports.
“I really don’t understand – if it was the pink ball, we’d be on there. Red ball, OK it’s not perfect but it’s an outdoor sport. Sometimes the light favours one side over the other.”
Umpires gave South Africa the opportunity to bowl their spinners in order to stay on the field, which was denied by Dean Elgar.
“(The) ICC need to look at the crowd here, there’s what 30,000 people here, did Australia look like they couldn’t see the ball when they were batting? I think they saw it OK,” Waugh said.
Waugh said it was possible rules could be changed to allow umpires to substitute a pink ball during bad light, but doubted the ICC would make such a radical change.
“Cricket has a lot of tradition and history, and we don’t like to change things too often … so I can imagine if they’re not going to stay on when the lights are on, they’re not going to change the ball,” he said.
“Even though it could possibly happen – just get a ball in the same condition, obviously a slightly different colour. It’s a possibility but I don’t think it’s going to happen.
“There’s no way we should’ve (gone) off when we did – Australia were scooting along nicely, it was a good contest.
“Yeah, maybe not not 100 per cent perfect conditions, but sometimes it’s cloudy, sometimes is sunny, it’s an outdoor sport and we’ve got to change our way of thinking.
“I don’t think it’s dangerous for the batsmen, there is good enough light with the lights on … we should be playing on.”
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