Former Australian quick Ryan Harris.
Former Australian quick Ryan Harris. Rick Rycroft

It's enough to make Ryan Harris consider a comeback

CRICKET: The prospect of a fresh Gabba deck, a pink ball, clouds in the sky and lights shining bright is enough to make former Aussie quick Ryan Harris consider a comeback.

When Australia meets Pakistan in Brisbane on Thursday for the first time since 1999, and for just the third time in six-and-a-half years, Harris thinks it could be a bowling paradise.

With cloud cover and some showers predicted for at least the first three days of the first day-night match to be staged in Brisbane, Harris said the toss would be crucial.

"The old saying is you look up, not down in Brisbane,” Harris said.

"Usually at that time of the day (the wicket) starts to flatten a little bit ... it's a little foreign, I guess.

"If it's really overcast and cloudy you'd have no hesitation in bowling. It will be really interesting to see how (Australian captain Steve) Smith plays it.”

The first Test of a three-match series shapes as one of the most pivotal in Gabba history.

Cricket Australia bean-counters will be watching with keener interest than ever.

This will be the first time in some years the Gabba Test hasn't been the first of the Australian summer, following poor crowd attendance at every Test since the 2012-13 Ashes series opener.

And with alarming figures this week showing the decline in television audiences for the recent Test series against South Africa and one-dayers against New Zealand, the Brisbane crowd - and indeed the players - must turn it on this week.

"Let's hope they're able to get through a full Test match,” Harris said.

"I'm not sure it's going to last five days in those conditions in Brisbane but we'll see what happens.”

It's going to be the ultimate test of batting patience, with both sides more than capable of rolling the other for little more than peanuts.

Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and either Jackson Bird or Chadd Sayers will relish the conditions, and once-disgraced Pakistan quick Mohammad Amir has already proved his wares under lights in Cairns.

He ripped through Cricket Australia XI's top-order at the weekend with a stunning display of late swing with the pink ball under lights.

"Those conditions in Brisbane at this time of year really makes me want to try and roll the arm over and get the knee warmed-up,” Harris joked.


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