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Pink ball to lift cricket's appeal: Clarke

Michael Clarke is to return to cricket with his Sydney grade club Western Suburbs this summer.
Pink ball to lift cricket's appeal: Clarke
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Michael Clarke has thrown his support behind day-night Tests, insisting they have the power to boost the public appeal of cricket's oldest format.

Clarke expressed concerns about the innovation in 2014 but was thoroughly impressed by last year's inaugural day-night Test at Adelaide Oval.

The former Australia skipper, who retired following last year's Ashes in England, has always been adamant that Test cricket should remain the sport's pinnacle for all parties.

Clarke believes pink-ball contests could help ensure that is the case.

"Anything that increases the appeal of and the audiences for Test cricket ... any innovation that brings more people to the game, I'm all in favour of it," Clarke wrote in his autobiography.

"If that means playing more day-night Test cricket, that is good.

"There are many ways of improving cricket as a spectacle, and the first day-night Test match, in Adelaide in 2015 between Australia and New Zealand, offered us a glimpse of the future.

"It seems to me that more people were going to watch the day-night Test match because of the timing: they could do it after work or school."

Clarke added that "a lot of money has been spent marketing the T20 format. Now, I think the emphasis has to go back onto Test cricket".

The pink ball looked near-unplayable at times during the inaugural day-night Test, when Peter Nevill's 66 was the highest score of the match and Australia hurtled to a three-wicket win over New Zealand late on day three.

The script was significantly different but cricket's second day-night Test delivered another thrilling finish on Tuesday morning (AEDT).

Pakistan recorded a 56-run victory over West Indies, a result that will double as a pink-ball confidence boost ahead of their day-night Test against Australia at the Gabba in December.

The Dubai contest was decided late on day five after an impressive Darren Bravo ton threatened to deliver the visitors a come-from-behind win.

Predictably the surface in the United Arab Emirates was nowhere as green, while opener Azhar Ali had no issues picking up the pink ball on day one of the Test.

Azahar's unbeaten 302 gave Pakistan a first-innings total of 3(dec)-579 but their dominance was later subdued by a second-innings haul of 8-49 from West Indies legspinner Devendra Bishoo.

Pakistan paceman Wahab Riaz raised concerns about how the ball deteriorated in the post-dinner session.

"It is difficult and we are having problems with it, specially under the lights," Wahab said during the game.

"The first two sessions are fine but in the third session there is a lot of dew and the ball gets wet, the seam gets swollen.

"When we bowled with the same ball the next day, the ball was very soft and it doesn't do anything off the pitch. We neither got conventional swing nor reverse-swing."

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