The sun issue is set to strike a second time this summer as McLean Park plays hosts to the Black Caps and Bangladesh in the opening ODI today.
Last month the ground possibly created a first in New Zealand international cricket – when the 1st ODI against India was delayed by good weather.
Too much sun led to a 37-minute delay during India's victory, as the glare from the sunset over the stadium caused difficulties for the players to see.
It was understood to be the first instance of such a delay occurring during the middle of an international innings in New Zealand.
Two years ago, a Twenty20 against Bangladesh at the ground saw the same problem occur, but fortunately during the innings break, and domestic cricket fans were aware of the "sunstrike", with a Twenty20 clash between Central Districts and Canterbury last month being delayed for the same reason.
The unique phenomenon comes about in day-night games, when the sun sets over the Chapman Stand. Because the McLean Park pitches are aligned east-to-west, rather than the traditional north-to-south, the glare shines directly down the wicket when there is limited cloud cover. It most notably affects the batsmen, and the fielders down on the fine leg and third man boundaries.
A sunny day is expected in Napier today with cloud clover unlikely to hide the issue.
The match begins at 2pm with a scheduled innings break between 5.30pm and 6.10pm. Players went off the field at 7.23pm during the January 23 clash. If the issue occurs again it would happen during the second innings of today's game.
It was a new experience for many when the players had to walk off the park last month, just an over after the dinner break, with India at 44-1 in their chase of 158 for victory. It left fans to unleash the Mexican wave as they waited for the shadow, imitating a sundial, to slowly move across the wicket, with the Indian innings eventually resuming with just one over lost due to the delay - and their required chase reduced to 156, a target they reached with eight wickets to spare.
Umpire Shaun George said the delay was a first for him in his 14 years of umpiring, but explained why he utilised Law 2.7.2 - "Conditions shall be regarded as dangerous if there is actual and foreseeable risk to the safety of any player or umpire" – to delay the game.
"We have a setting sun which is directly in the eyes of the batsmen – we have to take into consideration the safety of players – not only the batsmen but the umpires, and the players fielding behind the stumps as well," said George.
Black Caps captain Kane Williamson noted that there was nothing that could be done about the situation.
"We knew that in some of the domestic Twenty 20 games that it had been the case, and [the glare] is fairly considerable so it did have to happen. It's hard to move the sun and hard to move the grandstand, we didn't have either of those options so we had to sit down for a bit," Williamson joked.
Still, it wasn't the greatest look for a ground which hadn't hosted an ODI in nearly four years. Drainage issues caused farcical scenes in 2017 when an ODI against Australia was abandoned despite hours of sunshine – the second year in a row a game was called off due to a wet outfield. A $4.9 million investment later, and a new turf was ready for its first game, but there were still delays, thanks to the sun.