Pakistan adds day-night context to historic 400th test

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) " Pakistan will mark its historic 400th test match with a modern twist on the most traditional cricket format, using a pink ball and playing at night against the West Indies at its home away from home.

The Pakistan lineup is confident heading into the three-match series, which begins Thursday with just the second day-night cricket test in history, after sweeping West Indies 3-0 in the Twenty20 and the one-day international series. Mission accomplished with the white ball, they're hoping to carry that form into the next stage of the tour.

Day-night test cricket is about to be trialed around the world after the commercial success of Australia's win over New Zealand in the inaugural match in Adelaide last year. Cricket administrators want to attract bigger crowds to the longer format and to capitalize on the growing success of T20 cricket, which has increased interest in the game.

And so Pakistan officials are hoping Pakistani expats living in the UAE will turn up in good numbers at the Dubai International Stadium after work.

While the cooler conditions and the timing should be popular with spectators, the players have some extra challenges to contend with. Not least, the color of the ball " pink is a compromise between the traditional red ball for tests and the white ball that was introduced when day-night limited-overs cricket emerged in the 1970s and players started wearing colored clothes.

So far the West Indies batsmen have struggled to cope with Pakistan's spinners on slow wickets in the UAE. They will get little respite with pink ball against the spin duo of Yasir Shah and Zulfiqar Babar. Seeing the black seam on the pink ball at night is one of the main problems for batsmen.

"It's hard to see the seam, especially with the spinners. You can't really spot the seam," Pakistan batsman Azhar Ali said. "It's a first game for us with a pink ball and it's a day-night game " players have had experience with the pink ball in the domestic circuit but internationally it's the first game. It's a different challenge but we're all excited about it."

West Indies batsman Darren Bravo had a good look at the pink ball in the three-day warmup game against a Pakistani XI in which the left-hander scored 91 and leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo took five wickets.

"I think most of the guys have complained about the fact that they're not really able to pick up the seam that well," Bravo said. "I don't know for whatever reason but we can't do anything about it. We need to accept the challenge as quickly as possible and just go out there and give it our best shot."

Pakistan's premier test batsman Younis Khan will miss his country's inaugural day-night test match as he's still recovering from illness.

Rising batting star Babar Azam could fill the vacancy after scoring three successive centuries in the one-day series against the West Indies.

Pakistan has also included uncapped left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz, who could be useful as a batsman down the order.

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Squads:

Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Azhar Ali, Sami Aslam, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah, Zulfiqar Babar, Rahat Ali, Sohail Khan, Imran Khan.

West Indies: Jason Holder (captain), Kraigg Brathwaite, Devendra Bishoo, Carlos Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Roston Chase, Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Jermaine Blackwood, Shai Hope, Leon Johnson, Alzarri Joseph, Marlon Samuels, Jomel Warrican.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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