Somerset ready for day/night Specsavers County Championship match

Somerset’s Specsavers County Championship match against Hampshire, that gets underway at the Ageas Bowl on Monday, will be the first time that the team have played in a day/night match in the four day competition.

The game will be played with a pink ball and will start each day at 1.30pm and go on until 9pm.

How have the Somerset team prepared for the game? Director of cricket Matt Maynard explains: “We have had some great time to prepare for the game playing with the pink ball,” he said. “We’ve been fielding in the areas wide of second slip, gully and point. I don’t think there is a huge amount of difference from a batting or bowling point of view but square of the wicket there will be a lot of difference for the fielders. On a sunny day, picking up the depth perception for ground fielding and catches is going to be tough.

“We’ve been working a lot on that and also getting the bowlers used to using a pink Duke ball which is different to a red Duke, so we will just have to wait and see.”

For most of the Somerset team this will be the first time they have experienced these conditions. However, both James Hildreth and Lewis Gregory have played in this format about which James said: “It’s different, but not hugely so. The game I played in was out in Abu Dhabi where conditions are very different anyway. Over here in England, where it stays lighter for longer at this time of the year, the twilight period is longer and nobody knows just how it is going to go.

“I think that if the weather stays alright then it won’t be too different, but if it’s a bit darker or damp then it could start seaming around. Most people say that it starts seaming around when the sun goes down. It will be good fun because it’s the first time ever that they have had this round of fixtures. The weirdest thing for me will be the timing of the game because what do you do with the mornings? You don’t want to be using up too much energy with cricket starting later in the day.”

Lewis said: “It’s slightly different and I think that the sighting of the ball is a fraction tougher. However, during the day it’s pretty much like playing with a red ball, but then at the twilight period it becomes a little bit tougher to see the ball and it tended to nip about a little bit. In England, daylight is a little bit longer than it was over there, so that may not come into affect quite so much.

“It’s going to be a little bit of a ‘wait and see’ because the ball might do something or it might not. We just have to go out there and play it the way we see it and score some runs.”

Did Lewis think it would affect the decision you make at the toss? “I don’t think so,” he said. “There are so many things that can happen because the most difficult time is twilight and that may not happen in June if it is four good days.”

He added: “I think we have to treat it like a normal Championship game and there will be tough times when we are batting and tough times when we are bowling, but there might be a few exterior factors on top of that.”