Jimmy Anderson questioned whether there could be more leeway when it comes to bad light following an unsatisfactory second day in Southampton that stayed dry after play began at 12.30pm yet saw only 40.2 overs bowled.
Bad light forced an early tea at 4.12pm – despite Pakistan’s T20 squad continuing a warm-up match on the adjacent ground without floodlights – and set a benchmark reading on the light meters that led to the umpires, Richard Kettleborough and Michael Gough, then halting the delayed evening session after nine deliveries.
With Pakistan on 223 for nine when stumps were finally called at 6.27pm, both Anderson and Stuart Broad were frustrated not to have finished the job but still accepted the call. The former, however, wondered whether the initial reading that dictates later decisions needs looking at.
Anderson said: “It was gloomy but it’s one of those when it didn’t seem like the batmen were struggling too much. I don’t know what the reading was [at tea]. Maybe there could be a bit more leeway there.
“The light has been gloomy all day and we’ve been lucky to get the play we have. It did feel like the floodlights were pretty prominent. The umpires take their readings, we can only go off that so there’s nothing more we can do about that.”
Broad, speaking to BBC, said: “The officials were right to bring us off. It had dropped below the darkness that we had come off for earlier in the day and all of our fielders were saying: ‘We wouldn’t want to bat in this, this is quite dark.’”
Mohammad Rizwan, who ended the day unbeaten on 60, said: “I was ready to play but the decision rests with the umpires and they have the responsibility to ensure no one gets injured. They have to go by the light meter. It’s the same for both teams.”
The problem once again gave rise to the suggestion of whether the pink ball used in day-night Test cricket could be brought on to replace the red one – if similarly aged in terms of overs – and thus allow play to continue.
Broad, however, disagreed with this. He said: “I think we’ve seen with the history of the pink ball under lights, it’s been very tricky for the batsmen and would be unfair to the balance to the game.
“If you were 300 for three and it got dark and the pink ball came out, you could lose five for 10. That’s going too far. If the players’ safety is in doubt, the officials have to bring them off. If they think it’s safe, you play.”
Broad, sitting one demerit point away from a one-match suspension after being fined for his language during the first Test, was perhaps always unlikely to criticise the officials and was also in buoyant mood as his rich run of form continued.
The 34-year-old’s four Tests this season have returned 25 wickets at 12.88 runs apiece and he is on course to beat his previous best home summer by way of bowling average (2011, when his 33 victims cost 22.3 runs). His figures of three for 56 included the key removal of Babar Azam for 47 with a beautiful leg-cutter that found the edge.
Broad added: “It was a nice ball. Babar is a really classy player – the shots he played had style and he was leaving really well. I came a bit tighter to see if I could get him playing with a straight bat and it just nipped away nicely.
“I’ve felt in great rhythm all summer. It’s one of those summers you don’t want to finish. I’ve been running it well, threatening the stumps and things have gone my way. When that happens you want to wrap it in cotton wool and make it last as long as possible.”