A PINK ball. A lunch interval starting at 4pm. A player (Gary Ballance) who can only play on the first two days of the match because England want him to go and play in another match.
Welcome to the County Championship, 2017-style.
On the first day of the inaugural day/night Championship game at Headingley, part of a round of fixtures to help England prepare for the first pink-ball Test in this country in August, it was cricket, Jim, but not as we know it as Surrey scored 374-6 after winning the toss.
The pink ball experiment drew a crowd of 2,595, no more than might have been expected had the game started at the usual 11am instead of 2pm.
The crowd increased by 494 after 4.40pm, when reduced ticket prices were in operation and as people began to trickle in after work, but the jury remains out at this stage.
Factor in that Yorkshire have new England Test captain Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow available for this game, and the crowd might even be said to have been slightly disappointing; the weather was also sunny and agreeable, the day blown along by a pleasant breeze.
From beyond the boundary, and perhaps even inside it, the pink ball was not always easy to see. To many, it seemed a bit of blur as it whizzed down the pitch or whipped across the outfield – not that Surrey’s batsmen seemed to have too much trouble picking it up.
No matter what colour the ball is, you still have to put it in the right areas, as they drone in the trade, and Yorkshire did not do that sufficiently often.
Rory Burns (90), Jason Roy (87) and Kumar Sangakkara (82 not out) took advantage, leading Surrey to a good score achieved at the fair lick of just under four runs per over.
In front of national selector James Whitaker, who did not enter the ground via a side door, Yorkshire took to the field without left-arm pace bowler Ryan Sidebottom, who was rested ahead of next week’s match against Somerset at Scarborough.
From beyond the boundary, and perhaps even inside it, the pink ball was not always easy to see. To many, it seemed a bit of blur as it whizzed down the pitch or whipped across the outfield – not that Surrey’s batsmen seemed to have too much trouble picking it up.The YP’s Chris Waters
Harry Brook, the 18-year-old who impressed on Championship debut last week against Middlesex at Lord’s, was nominated as the fully participating substitute for Ballance on days three and four, with the Yorkshire captain leaving to lead England Lions in their game against South Africa, starting on Thursday.
The captaincy of this match will pass to vice-captain Tim Bresnan, who returned after missing the last two Championship games as his wife was expecting their third child.
On the field, it was a milestone day for the persevering Bresnan; when he had Burns caught behind off a ball that rose sharply on the left-hander on the stroke of tea, he achieved his 500th first-class wicket on his 177th appearance.
Right from the get-go, Surrey were positive.
Mark Stoneman stroked six boundaries in racing to 30 from 32 balls, his innings ended when he perhaps over-confidently tried to drive a ball from Ben Coad that was not quite there for the shot and was caught behind.
Scott Borthwick played a similar hand; he struck six boundaries in a 40-ball innings before perishing for 31, squared-up by a ball from Steve Patterson that he lobbed up to Jack Brooks at mid-wicket.
Surrey scored 105-2 from 31 overs in the opening session before striding away in the second session, striking 166-2 in just 32.2 overs as Yorkshire’s bowling floundered.
Adil Rashid came in for particular punishment, conceding 58 runs in nine wicket-less overs as Roy, especially, looked to get after him, twice launching the leg-spinner for a straight six into the Football Stand.
Having lost his England place in the Champions Trophy, Roy looked back to his punishing best, reaching his half-century from 54 balls compared with Burns’s 126 as the pair added 147 for the third wicket in 33 overs.
Brooks broke the stand when he trapped Roy with one that might have taken the top of off stump as he tried to defend.
Roy’s departure brought out Sangakkara, who made his 100th hundred in all forms of cricket when Surrey knocked Yorkshire out of the Royal London Cup here earlier this month.
The Sri Lankan immediately stamped his authority, flashing Brooks to the cover boundary with imperious flourish on a day when the pace bowler also struggled.
Sangakkara got stuck into Rashid, lofting him for six over mid-wicket, and he used his feet well on his way to fifty from 86 balls.
Sangakkara added 49 for the fifth wicket with Ben Foakes, who was fifth out when he drove Coad to cover, one hand coming off the bat handle as he picked out Peter Handscomb. Yorkshire tightened up in the final session, adding the wicket of Sam Curran when he edged Patterson behind.
The weather forecast for the rest of the game is not good; not even the amazing pink ball can keep away the rain.