PLAYING with a pink ball will not seem a strange experience for Ben Stokes when he makes his first appearance of the season for Durham today.

It was in the MCC v Champions match in Abu Dhabi in 2010, played under the same conditions, that Stokes made his first-class debut, aged 18, and scored a half-century.

He is the only survivor from that Durham side, although they returned for the same fixture in 2014 with a line-up which included Keaton Jennings, Paul Coughlin and Chris Rushworth.

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With promotion-chasing Worcestershire as the visitors for today's 2pm start, Emirates Riverside is one of nine venues hosting the county championship's first day-night matches.

With play continuing until at least 9m, Durham are offering £5 entry after 5pm for a match which will also feature Moeen Ali and former Durham player John Hastings in the visiting line-up.

Hastings has some pink ball experience, as do wicketkeeper Ben Cox and batsman Joe Clarke after playing for the MCC against Middlesex in Abu Dhabi in March. Clarke scored 89 and was back in form last week with a century in both innings in the win against Kent.

The experiment with pink balls and floodlights is intended as preparation for England's first day-night Test against the West Indies at Edgbaston in mid August.

Batting during the twilight period is acknowledged to be a test, especially as the pink Duke ball stays harder for longer and is likely to nip around as darkness begins to fall.

Durham can also call on Mark Wood, who was rested from the second and third T20 internationals against South Africa, while New Zealander Tom Latham will make his debut.

Now 25, Latham is a left-handed opener who averages 38.84 from 32 Test matches and can also keep wicket.

As a teenager playing in the North East Premier League he played a few games for Durham seconds and said: “It's good to see that some of those I played with have made the transition to first team cricket.

“When you are on the other side of the world it's good to be with familiar faces. I'm looking forward to playing a couple of four-day games before starting the Twenty20. I'm always looking to improve my T20 game, and this will be a good opportunity.”

Jennings has been made available for the first two days before rejoining England Lions after leading them to victory against South Africa at Canterbury.

There have been reports that Stokes' recent knee trouble might keep him out of the first Test, but Durham coach Jon Lewis said: “We haven't been told of any limitation on the amount he can bowl. Knowing him, he will bowl as much as he wants to.

“It is an imaginative step to play with a pink ball under lights and if we don't try it we won't find out whether it works. The lights here are very good and I would have thought it's an ideal venue for a day-night Test match.”