Pakistan hosts first ever first-class match under lights

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Karachi, Jan 14 (PTI) Pakistan may hope to begin a newera in its domestic cricket structure as it is successfullyhosting its first ever first-class cricket match under lights,besides also using a coloured ball for the very first time,here at the national stadium

"If this experiment is successful then we can have moreof our first class matches under lights and also use an orangeball," said Javed Miandad, a former Test captain and DirectorGeneral of the Pakistan cricket Board {PCB).

The cream of Pakistan''s cricket community was present atthe stadium for the historic match that got underway at 2.30pm local time and continued under lights until around 9 pm.

The two top teams of the domestic season -- Habib Bankand PIA -- are a part of the historic match, who are battlingit out for the prestigious Quaid-e-Azam Trophy title over afive-day game.

The players have been wearing the traditional whitejerseys but are using the orange ball and black sightscreens.

The transition from daylight to artificial lights didn''tappear to cause much problems for the batting side or for thebowlers as discarded Test leg-spinner Danish Kaneria stood outfor the bankers, taking four wickets to bowl out the airlinersfor 228 on the first day.

The ICC''s general manager cricket, Dave Richardson alsojoined Miandad and other PCB officials to watch the match andjudge whether the experiment was successful.

Miandad said that Richardson was in town to see forhimself the security arrangements for the final, as the boardhas kept the entry free.

"Obviously, we are keen to bring back foreign teams toPakistan. And we see this final as a big opportunity toimpress the ICC and show that Pakistan has learnt its lessonand now has a full blown security plan and structure in placeeven for its domestic cricket," the former captain and coachsaid. .

Miandad said that the final would also serve as a big step towards making five-day cricket more interesting andengrossing for the people.

"If this final goes well not only can we convey a messageto the ICC that it is safe to play in Pakistan but also takesteps to make the matches more interesting."

Miandad said in view of the challenges faced by five-dayversion of the game because of the growing popularity of T20cricket it had become necessary to take some steps to makeTest cricket more attractive for spectators.

"We are hoping more people will come to the see the finalmatch over the next few days," Miandad added.

Despite a scant publicity of the final game, once thefloodlights at the stadium were switched on, a lot of people,including families started pouring into the stadium eventhough the tight security arrangements made life a difficultfor them.

Every person had to pass through a scanner at twoentrances and also undergo a body check.

Interestingly, India also experimented once organised aRanji Trophy final under lights in the nineties.

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