Floodlit Championship set for end of June

Play 01:39

ECB announces first day-night Test

The ECB are planning to stage a round of Championship matches under lights at the end of June next season as England prepare for their first day-night Test.

England are scheduled to play two Tests under lights in 2017. First they will play West Indies at Edgbaston in August, before playing one of the Ashes Tests in Australia at the end of the year.

While details are yet to be confirmed, it is understood that the ECB have identified a round of games starting on June 26 for the floodlit matches in the hope that England players will be available. England play a T20I against South Africa in Cardiff on June 25, with the first Test against South Africa starting at Lord’s on July 6.

That scheduling is not ideal. It comes just a few days after the longest evening of the year (sunset time is around 10pm) so the value of using lights will be diminished. But the ECB hopes it will attract more spectators to games and provide more data over the strengths and weaknesses of the pink ball and optimum pitch conditions for its usage.

It is also one of few rounds where England’s Test specialists are expected to be available. Plans to stage the games in August were rejected as not all teams are scheduled to play at the same time and, in the ECB’s words, “equitability is deemed important.”

The Division One games will be hosted by four of Warwickshire, Yorkshire, Essex, Hampshire or Surrey, while the Division Two games will be staged by five of Durham, Kent, Nottinghamshire, Sussex, Northamptonshire and Glamorgan. The ECB has asked each of the counties to ensure there are no issues – such as permission from the local council – with them hosting such games before they confirm the schedule.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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