Matt Heath: Finally, a pink ball test to excite New Zealand cricket fans

Publish Date
Monday, 12 March 2018, 11:37AM
NZ Herald
NZ Herald

A friend's mum recently told me that the key to happiness is having something to look forward to. As long as you're excited about something coming up you'll be fine. A holiday, a visiting relative or even better a pink ball test at Eden Park.

Good news! There's one in ten days. England v NZ. The first day/night test on home soil. Get yourself to Eden Park if you can. If you can't there's always TV and iHeartRadio. You can enjoy Ian Smith and his team or press the futuristic yellow button on your Sky remote for the saucy and informed Alternative Commentary Collective. What a time to be alive.

Saturday's ODI series loss hasn't dampened my enthusiasm at all. I'm still celebrating The Tongue Taylor's 181. Plus it's a different game with different players coming in. I'm a New Zealander. I love our team. I love watching them play.

People say test cricket is boring. I say calling test cricket boring is boring

I mean sure it can get a bit boring from time to time. But that's the point. You enjoy the things you spend time and effort on more deeply.

Black Caps coach extraordinaire Mike Hesson says: "You invest time in tests. A team gets fully explored. It's not just the top half or the bottom. You get challenged as the pitch changes, as the light deteriorates, as the ball gets old. Then new. You need to show skill for long periods of time."

A five day test is an epic journey. Frodo could've flown a giant eagle direct from The Shire to Mount Doom, hiffed the ring in and flown home. His saga would've been shorter but not better. A good story has struggles, twists and turns. Test cricket is The Lord of the Rings of sport.

Take the Hobart saga of 2012 and Doug Bracewell's epic 6/40 to win the game. How about the last test played at Eden Park back in 2014. A cracker. We beat India by 40 runs.

Baz - Brendon McCullum- hit a legendary 224. Sizzling stuff. As was my East Stand sunburn. We didn't win the next in that series. But we did get an heroic series winning draw. McCullum's match-saving, nation-stopping 302 will never be forgotten.

I asked All Blacks captain and Great New Zealander Kieran Read to share his thoughts: "I love test cricket. Sadly I can't be at the ground for the Pink Ball. But that's ok, I'll be pressing the yellow button on my sky remote and tuning into the mighty Alternative Commentary Collective. Pink Ball Yellow Button. Go the Black Caps."

Top broadcaster Hilary Barry adds: "'I'm super excited about the pink ball test. Not as giggling school boy excited as my co-host Jeremy. But pretty excited."

All Black prop and bloody good kiwi Wyatt Crockett reckons "there's nothing better than putting your feet up for a couple of hours, couple of beers listening to the sound of leather on willow, how's the serenity? Hillbilly Crockett can't be at the park but I'll be pushing the yellow button, I was a fan of the twelfth man and the ACC is like New Zealand's version, but way better!"

Eden Park CEO Nick Sautner adds: "Eden Park has proudly hosted some of the country's most memorable sporting moments over its 115-year history. The day-night Test represents another historical event for New Zealand's national stadium. We encourage all Aucklanders to be part of history. We're grateful for the support of local businesses and our neighbourhood in securing this day-night Test for New Zealand."

ACC commentator, Hauraki Breakfast and Seven Sharp host Jeremy Wells: "I can't wait. It's our first opportunity to watch the Black Caps brains trust deal with the tactical challenges of day/night test cricket in New Zealand."

So wag or come along after work next Thursday and Friday. If for whatever reason you can't attend every minute of the five days. No worries. Tune in. There's the incomparable Ian Smith and team, there's the trusty Radio Sport guys and for smart, sexy and insightful commentary join Jeremy Wells, Mike Lane, Jason Hoyte, Matt Heath (that's me) and The Alternative Commentary Collective.

Available on iHeartRadio and for the first time on Sky. Simply tune in to the game and press the yellow button on your Sky remote. As the song goes. Pink ball yellow button pink ball yellow button.

The Pink Ball Test. It's great having something to look forward to.

This article was first published on and is republished here with permission.