I sat next to an American girl on my flight. ‘What are you heading to Adelaide for?’ she asked. ‘The historic Pink Ball Test’ I explained. ‘It’s the first time they’ve ever played Test Cricket with a pink ball’. ‘What colour is it usually?’ she asked. ‘Red’ I said… She could not have looked more underwhelmed.
But at Adelaide Oval, people were excited. The pink ball looked iridescent at the ground, noticeably easier to pick up from the stands. I went to visit my friend Andre, who works for Cricket Australia and was sitting in the press box. Next to him, a group journalists were standing around examining this pink cricket ball. One of them asked if he could take it home. Test cricket was delivering these hardened critics something new and they were charmed.
By the time the night session arrived, the stands at Adelaide Oval were looking a bit empty. I had been led to believe the first two days were, more or less, sold out. ‘So where was everyone?’ I wondered. ‘Were the fans not as excited as the media?’ I decided to investigate and that’s when I found it – The Village Green. A newly designated area at Adelaide Oval which locals simply refer to as ‘out the back’. There are food tents, tables and a cover band playing Jessie’s Girl ‘out the back’. It’s crammed full with 15,000 paying customers, choosing to drink Pimms and socialise instead of watching live international test cricket. The Village Green doesn’t feel like a Test Cricket venue. It feels like a music festival (with really shitty music).
Cricket’s version of The Nursery at Flemington is not open to the public, it’s only available to Adelaide Oval members. These people do love Test Cricket at night, they just love the Village Green more.
After an eventful day 2, it’s unlikely that the historic Pink Ball Test will make it into a fourth day but the punters partying out the back of the Adelaide Oval are unlikely to notice. They’ll still turn up on Monday and Tuesday for a good night out, a few bevvies and a dance.
Have you checked out the Village Green at Adelaide Oval? Would you prefer to hang out there or sit inside and watch the Test live? Leave a comment below…