The Oval Staged the First Competitive Match Played Under Floodlights in London


On August 3, 1988, the first competitive match under the floodlights was played at the Oval stadium of London between Surrey and Sussex. The match was a one-sided affair as Sussex hammered Surrey by eight wickets with 67 balls to spare. Even though there was not much competition between the two sides, the match was a topic of discussion among cricket enthusiasts for a long time.

After the successful completion of the match, British journalist Christopher Dennis Alexander Martin-Jenkins had said, “The surprise, perhaps, is that it has taken English cricket so long to appreciate that even in a fickle climate the idea of playing at night, so successful overseas since Kerry Packer set the trend in 1978, was feasible here too.”

However, despite the change in scenario, what remained the same in that historic match was Surrey’s horrible form in that season in the 40-overs format. Batting first, Surrey’s batting line-up didn’t lived up the hype surrounding the encounter as not even a single batsman was able to cross the mark of 25 runs in the game.

Jonathan Batty was Surrey’s top scorer. He scored 23 runs off 38 balls as Surrey managed to score just 143 runs for the loss of eight wickets in their stipulated 40 overs. Ian Salisbury and Ian Ward were the second and third run-getter for Surrey in the match as they scored 22 and 20 runs, respectively.

Sussex’s bowlers were so disciplined in that game that only seven boundaries were scored in the match by their opponents. Mark Robinson and Keith Newell picked two wickets each for Sussex. James Kirtley, Robin Martin-Jenkins and Alex Edwards chipped in with one wicket each.

Chasing a below-par 144 runs to win, Sussex won the match in just 28.5 overs. Sussex skipper Chris Adams was the top scorer of the match as he remained unbeaten at 64 runs.

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