Players were rushed off the ground when Adelaide’s wild weather forced an early conclusion to day two of the pink-ball Test.
Day two of the Adelaide day-night Test match between Australia and England ended in “strange” circumstances, with South Australia’s wild weather forcing a premature conclusion to the day’s play.
Australian debutant Michael Neser was steaming in towards England No. 3 David Malan from the northern end of Adelaide Oval when just before his release, a rapid flash of light filled the stadium.
Malan threw his hands up above his head in bemusement while Neser spun around on the spot when a boom of thunder echoed around the venue a couple of seconds later.
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“A big flashing camera, it almost looked like,” Australian centurion Marnus Labuschagne described to reporters after stumps.
“Neser was a bit spooked by the noise and the thunder.”
The lightning had struck not far from the famous cathedral on the northern side of the ground, with stump cameras capturing the weather phenomenon.
“The timing was perfect on that,” former Australian batter Michael Hussey said on Fox Cricket. “Just as Neser was about to let go of that, there was a huge flash.”
Umpires Paul Wilson and Rod Tucker immediately halted play, and the cricketers diligently returned to the sheds as ground staff rushed onto the field to cover the pitch.
A somewhat concerning message popped up on the Adelaide Oval big screens: “Severe weather approaching. Follow direction from event staff and seek shelter.”
Play was officially abandoned a few minutes later, with the Ashes Test scheduled to resume the following afternoon at the oddly-specific time of 2.11pm.
“Lightning is one of those cases where the safety of everyone in the ground really is the consideration, not just the players but also the spectators and the ground staff,” former umpire Simon Taufel explained on Channel 7.
“When they see a flash of lightning, if there is a clap of thunder within 30 seconds, that suggests to them that the lightning is too close. If they feel the threat is such that they need to take the players from the field and look after the safety of everyone in the ground, they’ll do so.
“They’re unlikely to resume play until there is a 30-minute difference between the last flash of lightning or thunderclap. In this case, we will reach that cut-off time before that happens, so they’ve called stumps for the day.”
The lightning arguably arrived at the perfect time for England, who had just lost both of their opening batters in quick succession.
Australia’s pace attack was hooping the pink Kookaburra around corners under the artificial lights, threatening to cause even more damage to England’s top-order before the weather intervened.
“I was just hoping we could stay on the field because we’d get more wickets,” Labuschagne said with a grin.
England all-rounder Ben Stokes, who claimed three wickets during Australia’s first innings, described the ending to day two as “strange”.
“I’m not sure I’ve been involved in a game being called off early because of lightning,” he told reporters after stumps.
England is 2/17 at stumps on day two, still trailing Australia by 456 runs, with Malan and captain Joe Root unbeaten at the crease.