Cricket Australia (CA) on Friday announced plans to trial day-night first-class cricket with the long-term aim of playing Tests in Australia under lights.

Round 9 of the Bupa Sheffield Shield this season will be day-night matches. The matches in Queensland, South Australia and Victoria will be played with pink balls. If the trials are successful, the board will schedule more day-night first-class matches in the 2014-15 season to further test playing conditions and equipment.

These are the first steps towards a potential day-night Test being played in Australia in 2015-16.

“There is nothing guaranteed but this summer’s trials are our first serious effort to make day-night Test cricket a reality. We’ve also had some discussions with New Zealand Cricket to gauge their interest in the concept over the past few weeks given they are due to tour Australia in late 2015,” CA chief executive James Sutherland said in a statement.

“This is all about the fans. Cricket can’t afford to sit on its hands and must keep working hard to ensure Tests remain the most popular form of the game. No doubt there will be some resistance along the way but for the sake of growing the game, cricket needs to address the hurdles standing in the way of day-night Test cricket in a rational, mature way.

“We acknowledge that one of the critical aspects is how the ball wears, behaves and is seen over the course of an innings. There are also some concerns about dew on the ground at night. There may need to be some flexibility and compromise to get to the outcome.”

“The game needs to continue to evolve to meet the needs of its fans. We are not proposing all Tests should be played at night. However, there are certain venues and times of the year where day-night Tests can potentially enhance and promote the game.”

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