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Aussies board will use Pink ball against Pakistan and South Africa

SYDNEY: Australia will play two day-night Tests against South Africa and Pakistan next southern summer in a revamp of home international scheduling, a report said on Thursday.

Following the success of the inaugural pink-ball Test against New Zealand in Adelaide last year, Cricket Australia will stage two more day-night Tests against touring nations South Africa and Pakistan, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Australia will face the South Africans under lights in Adelaide and Pakistan at Brisbane’s Gabba ground, the newspaper said.

Cricket Australia is expected to finalise its international and domestic schedules for the 2016-17 season later this month.

Former Australia Test bowler Ryan Harris admits the pragmatic need to play Test matches at a time when spectators can attend has outweighed his concerns about the pitfalls of staging a day-night Test at the Gabba which appears set to host its first pink-ball fixture next summer.

And Australia coach Darren Lehmann has also welcomed the possibility of a day-night Test in Brisbane, pointing out that ensuring strong crowd numbers was a priority for the Test game and foreshadowing that a pink ball Test in Brisbane would be an “overwhelming success”.

Both former Test players were mindful of Australia’s imposing recent record at the Gabba – they have not been beaten in a Test match there since 1988.

But they agreed the enduring health of the game’s elite format was increasingly dependent on being able to attract significant crowds, something the Gabba has struggled to achieve in recent years.

Cricket Australia is yet to finalise the international schedule for the 2016-17 season, and a CA spokesman today declined to comment on the report about the possible changes to the schedule.

Piecing the summer schedule together is a complex task, that involves many working drafts, and is still very much a work in progress, including discussions with visiting cricket boards, the spokesman said.

We won’t be drawn on speculation at this point in time.

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