Bad light ended play on day four.
Bad light ended play on day four.

Bad light... or bad rule?

India's bowlers, Sydney Cricket Ground patrons and Aussie fans were left frustrated on Sunday as a combination of bad light and persistent morning showers combined to allow only 25.2 overs to be played.

While showers left umpires with little choice but to wipe out the morning session, fans were left frustrated when bad light stopped play just shy of the scheduled tea break.

It ultimately ended the day's play, despite the efforts of some attendees to get the match back on by lighting up the stadium with their mobile phones.

Umpire Ian Gould takes a light reading.
Umpire Ian Gould takes a light reading.

For many it was a farcical way for Sunday's play to come to an end given the presence of the SCG's eight floodlight towers.

However umpires have always been wary of artificial light taking over the natural light given the red ball is harder to see in such conditions.

As a rule of thumb, umpires have often used the presence of four shadows around players as an indication this has happened.

Once upon a time umpires would also put the question to the batsmen whether bad light had made it too difficult to play, however that option was done away with in 2010 given the tactical advantage that could give one side.


Disgruntled SCG fans use their phone lights to brighten the field.
Disgruntled SCG fans use their phone lights to brighten the field.

"It is solely for the umpires together to decide whether either conditions of ground, weather or light or exceptional circumstances mean that it would be dangerous or unreasonable for play to take place,"

Law 2.7.1 of the International Cricket Council's Test Playing Conditions states.

"Conditions shall be regarded as dangerous if there is actual and foreseeable risk to the safety of any player or umpire," Law 2.7.2 adds.

There is an element of science at play here as well, rather than just passing the eye test.

"The umpires shall be entitled to use light meter readings as a guideline for determining whether the light is fit for play," Law 2.5.2 states.

Importantly, light metre readings "may accordingly be used by the umpires" (law "as benchmarks for the remainder of the match" (law

Hence, the reading taken when bad light ended play early on day three determined when it had to come to an end on Sunday and will determine conditions on Monday.

Senior journalist Robert Craddock was livid at the decision, and responded strongly when asked if there should have been more cricket played.

"Test cricket does not help itself. My thoughts on this were shaped by Allan Border ... when he retired, he said 'there was never an occasion in my cricket career when I came off for bad light that I couldn't have kept playing' and I thought of that today," Craddock told Fox Cricket.

"They should've got another 30-40 overs today, honestly. A Big Bash game would've just gone through the day, rumbled through.

"I didn't see a shot today that was light-related. You think of racing car drivers, jockeys ploughing through wet conditions; I mean, that's life threatening stuff.

"For the majority, they were going to see two spinners bowling; not good enough for mine."

Fox Cricket commentator and journalist Harsha Bhogle agreed there should have been more cricket played.

Former Australian Test bowler Stuart Clark was livid when speaking to ABC Grandstand.

"This is an embarrassment to the game. This is embarrassing. It's not dark," Clark said.

"Are you trying to tell me if we had a pink ball we'd keep playing? Seriously.

"I'm all for when it's dark and dangerous to come off but this is not acceptable."