Pakistan hosts first ever first-class match under lights

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

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

The two top teams of the domestic season -- Habib Bank and PIA -- are a part of the historic match, who are battling it out for the prestigious Quaid-e-Azam Trophy title over a five-day game.

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

The transition from daylight to artificial lights didn't appear to cause much problems for the batting side or for the bowlers as discarded Test leg-spinner Danish Kaneria stood out for the bankers, taking four wickets to bowl out the airliners for 228 on the first day.

The ICC's general manager cricket, Dave Richardson also joined Miandad and other PCB officials to watch the match and judge whether the experiment was successful.
Miandad said that Richardson was in town to see for himself the security arrangements for the final, as the board has kept the entry free.

"Obviously, we are keen to bring back foreign teams to Pakistan. And we see this final as a big opportunity to impress the ICC and show that Pakistan has learnt its lesson and now has a full blown security plan and structure in place even for its domestic cricket," the former captain and coach said.

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

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

Miandad said in view of the challenges faced by five-day version of the game because of the growing popularity of T20 cricket it had become necessary to take some steps to make Test cricket more attractive for spectators.

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

Despite a scant publicity of the final game, once the floodlights at the stadium were switched on, a lot of people, including families started pouring into the stadium even though the tight security arrangements made life a difficult for them.

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

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

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