Cricket underwent rapid changes during the 80s and the 90s. The mentioned era also saw the introduction of the first-ever day-night cricket match under floodlights that ventured out of Australia in a 1979 match between Australia and the West Indies. The match played under the glare of these huge floodlights at the Sydney Cricket Ground came to be known as the Floodlit Cricket match. A new cricket culture was born that day.
September 28 marks the first time such a match was played on Indian grounds. It was the year 1984 when the ODI match between India and Australia was hosted by the country.
Delhi, at that time, had Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium as the host of any such international event. However, it lacked the floodlights necessary for the day-night match. As a result, the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium became the first stadium in India to host the floodlit match since it was honed with the light towers after hosting the Asiad Games in 1982.
“It was an artificial turf, but the lights were magnificent. It was easy to locate the ball. There was the novelty of the floodlights; there was history. The only drawback was that fielders had to spot the ball in the air, against the bright lights,” Surinder Khanna, the Indian wicketkeeper in the 1984 India vs. Australia white ball ODI, had told The Hindu.
The floodlit match occurred after the total overs were reduced from 60 overs to 50. The Australian team, captained by Kimberley John Hughes, set a target of 221 runs in 48 overs for the Indian team, captained by Sunil Gavaskar. The spectators witnessed a marvelous performance by Kepler Christoffel Wessels, who scored a 107 in 133 balls before being sent back to the pavilion by Ghulam Ahmed Parkar.
The Indian team, too, performed brilliantly, with Kapil Dev scoring 39 runs, followed by Dilip Balwant Vengsarkar, who scored 33 runs. But unfortunately, India couldn’t reach the target and lost the match by 48 runs.