Pink ball lights up Brisbane Test

Record Gabba crowd predicted for opening Test between Australia and Pakistan

Brisbane day-night Tests might yet start future summers, with Cricket Australia predicting record pink-ball crowds this week for the Gabba.

Days after CA chief executive James Sutherland had put Brisbane on notice as a Test venue, the Gabba is back by popular demand.

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Sutherland hinted Brisbane could revert to the traditional opening Test venue in future – with pink-ball matches.

And he did not rule out a day-night Brisbane Test kick-starting a future Ashes.

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"At some stage in the future, we will see a day-night Ashes Test here but we won't next year," Sutherland told ABC radio.

Record Brisbane crowd numbers have been forecast for Australia's day-night first Test against Pakistan.

LIVE: Australia v Pakistan at the Gabba

Gabba attendances reached 26,343 on Thursday – the biggest day-one crowd for a non-Ashes clash in Brisbane.

It easily eclipsed the previous mark of 25,114, set in 2012 for the first Test against South Africa.

Ticket sales are on track to exceed the 80,000 total crowd figure predicted by Sutherland.

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"We will undoubtedly break the record for the highest ever attendance for a non-Ashes (Test)," Sutherland said.

"It's pleasing because we had been a little disappointed with the Brisbane Test for a while."

It's been enough to dramatically change Sutherland's stance on Brisbane.

"The Gabba has its own unique characteristics and we need to adapt to that," Sutherland said.

"The climate here in Brisbane at this time of year lends itself to cricket in the evenings.

"That makes Test cricket here a much more-appealing proposition."

The Gabba is traditionally where Australia begin their Test summer.

Stats show why – they have not lost a Gabba Test since 1988.

But poor crowds ensured the Gabba lost that honour this year with November's first Test against South Africa relocated to Perth.

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The move backfired, with Australia crushed by the Proteas on their way to a 2-1 series loss.

Brisbane is back as the host of the summer's first Test next year - a 2017-18 Ashes day game.

However, it came with a caveat this week from Sutherland, who said the Brisbane fortress was no certainty to host first Tests beyond 2017 if crowds didn't improve.

Days later, Sutherland hinted Brisbane pink-ball Tests could be our new summer opener.

"I don't see why we can't start off with a day-night Test match in November," he said.

"It's a tiny bit cooler but not much."

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Sutherland's day-night Brisbane summer opener call might raise eyebrows with players.

Test speedster Mitchell Starc complained about the lack of swing in a Gabba pink-ball Sheffield Shield game in late October due to the cooler conditions.

Either way, pink-ball Tests are here to stay despite criticism from the likes of ex-Australian quick Mitchell Johnson.

"The game evolves and changes," Sutherland said.

"Day-night Test cricket is here and we will see more of it."

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