Australian Ashes series always leave cricket-lovers with difficult decisions to make about when to sleep and when to watch.
This winter’s is no different, although the novelty of a day/night test in Adelaide will make catching the final hours of those days a lot easier.
23-27 November: Brisbane, (estimated time of play) 00:00-07:00
2-6 December: Adelaide, 04:00-11:00
14-18 December: Perth, 02:30-09:30
26-30 December: Melbourne, 23:30 (Dec 25)-06:30
4-8 January: Sydney, 23:30 (Jan 3)-06:30
Each day is split into three two-hour sessions of play, with lunch (or dinner, for the day/night test) and tea breaks in between. Lunch is 40 minutes long, tea is 20 – quick and easy nap-times.
Periods when the ball is new will be a must-watch, and the Kookaburra balls that are used in Australia generally stay shiny for 10 overs or so, which will take around 40 minutes to get through.
After that the ball will get dull and for the first couple of days of each Test, before the pitch has had chance to break up, these periods should also be prime napping opportunities.
When the pitch starts to get scuffed and cracked on days four and five particularly, the spinners will come into the attack, but by then it should be easier to tell what direction the game is going and how much you can afford to sleep through.
For the Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney Tests, splitting sleep strategically is the way to go, pinpointing the part of the (Australian) day when the action is likely to happen and grabbing a few hours kip either side of it.
History lesson: Splitting sleep is how people often used to get their forty winks – or, should that be, Twenty20 winks – so waking up in the middle of the night to watch the Ashes is basically what our ancestors would have wanted.
Catching the start of the day/night Test days at 4am will be difficult unless you’re a night-shift worker, but the novelty factor will be well within normal waking hours – dusk should fall in Adelaide at around 10am English time.
If you don’t fancy crawling out of bed to the TV – or simply don’t have BT Sports, who will be showing the series in the UK – BBC Test Match Special will be on hand as always to provide commentary.
Set your radios and smartphones to make BBC 5 Live sports extra your alarm (the BBC iPlayer Radio app has a feature for this) and the action will be there to welcome you as you wake.
Image courtesy of ECB via YouTube, with thanks.