Marnus Labuschagne says using a pink ball is not the answer to cricket's light problem after a number of Aussie greats slammed the farcical scenes that took place at the SCG on Wednesday. Rain and bad light caused multiple stoppages on the opening day of the third Test between Australia and South Africa, with a whopping 43 overs lost due to the poor conditions.
Play was stopped for two-and-a-half hours in the middle of the day when light became too poor. And while some rain fell, it was more due to the light that play wasn't commenced again later. The Aussies reached 2-147 when the game finally resumed in the final hour of the day, but only four overs were played as the light again became an issue.
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The stoppages saw former Aussie Test captain Steve Waugh lead a chorus of criticism against the farcical light rules in place, saying cricket must move with the times due to competition from other sports.
Fellow former skipper Allan Border said light rules were too soft in Test cricket, while Waugh's twin brother Mark said play should have continued under floodlights. Test cricket is able to be played with a pink ball under lights during day-night Tests, but is deemed unsafe with a red ball.
There have been a number of calls for the pink ball to be used in poor light regardless of whether the game is a day-night fixture or not. Others have suggested a move to the pink ball for all matches.
"I certainly hope not, because the balls are just so different," Labuschagne said. "There is no consistency with the pink ball. There is no consistent swing, everything happens quite erratically. The balls are made differently ... and react so much differently with spin and pace."
The Queenslander became victim to the situation when he was caught behind for 79 off Anrich Nortje on the last ball before umpires ended play. He said at stumps: "Sometimes you feel like you can see (the red ball) really well when it is dark.
"But it wasn't one of those days. And the red ball under lights, it just doesn't stand out. It's quite tough and dull. It's probably more dangerous for the fielders, because you can't see it square of the wicket."
Labuschagne said he felt for fans, with anger erupting on social media that more play wasn't achieved. "I feel for the spectators," he said.
"I walked back up there when we went (to the boundary) but didn't go back out, and I said that is the quickest way to lose spectators right there. But the reality of the game is it has to be safe. And when you have two teams bowling fast, you can't be out there when it is too dark."
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Steve Waugh wrote on social media on Wednesday: “Test cricket needs to realise there is a lot of competition out there and not using the lights when the players are off for bad light simply doesn’t add up. Lots of unhappy spectators who can’t understand the rationale and reason for no play.”
Mark Waugh said in commentary for Fox Sports: “I’d like to change the rules. I’m saying once the lights are on we stay on, simple as that.
“I really don’t understand. If it was a pink ball, we’d be on there, if it was a red ball, ok it’s not perfect, it’s an outdoor sport, sometimes the light favours one side over the other.”
“The ICC need to look at the crowd here, there’s 30,000 people here. Did Australia look like they couldn’t see the ball when they were batting? I think they saw it ok. Lights are on, we stay on. Simple.
“There’s no way we should have went off when we did ... I just think we’ve got to change our way of thinking.”
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