As far as opening nights go this was hard to beat.

The highly anticipated first game under the LED lights at Bay Oval on Saturday night passed all the tests set for international standards as did the brand new digital scoreboard.

But what may have surprised some — and certainly was noted by NZ Cricket with the Black Caps to play four matches in January and February — was the quality of the pitch.

Saturday's game produced an almost unprecedented 421 runs from 40 overs bowled in the Twenty 20 Super Smash clash between the Knights and Aces. Knights keeper-batsman Tim Seifert blasted the fastest Twenty20 century in New Zealand domestic history with 107 off just 42 balls.


Seifert hit nine fours and nine sixes as the Knights made 214-9, with local boy Brett Hampton smashing four sixes in a 12-ball cameo of 28. The Aces gave the huge target a real scare before falling just seven runs short.

Former Black Cap Chris Pringle enjoyed the whole spectacle but was particularly impressed with the most important 20m of turf in the middle.

"I texted David Johnston who is playing a part in the ground there and my comment was 'did you prepare this road? It is an absolute belter'. It had plenty of pace and bounce in it which is ideal," Pringle said.

"It prepares great entertainment when guys can play shots freely rather than a tennis ball bounce and having to wait for the ball. They can just go hell for leather which is great entertainment like it was with 214 v 207 — what more can you ask for?"

Pringle is enthusiastic about the international matches to come at Bay Oval over the next three months.

"The wickets will only get better and that is something we know because the weather will get better. Providing they can continue to keep those surfaces really hard it should be a great venue for cricket this summer."

Bay Oval Trust general manager Kelvin Jones says groundsman Jared Carter deserves plenty of praise for the way the wicket played.

"Jared really came to the party. To have one of the best wickets we have ever had for the occasion was special. We have had a reputation for having some slow and low wickets and that is very hard to shake but that wicket Saturday night was as good as you will see anywhere in New Zealand."

Jones says the special nature of the LED lights proved everything they had hoped for when they made the contentious decision to break new ground for global cricket grounds.

"With regard the lights, you know they are good, you know they surpass the levels they should be, but until you see a ball bowled in anger with some real cricketers you just don't know.

"When we were making the decision to go with LED lights, no one else in the cricket world had done it before. That came with opportunity but a huge amount of risk that we were doing the right thing, so when you see quality players scoring runs easily you realise they are the best lights in the country.

"Tim Seifert thought they were the best lights he has ever played under."