Refined pink ball provides renewed optimism
DUBAI: Pakistan and West Indies go into the second ever day-night Test on Thursday in Dubai with the manufacturers of the format´s pink ball confident it is now more durable and visible.
Australia and New Zealand featured in the inaugural day-night Test match at Adelaide in November last year — the first in the 140-year history of Test cricket.
That was a significant departure from the traditional red ball used in Test cricket since 1876, but the trial did not pass off without its problems.
The contest was a low-scoring affair with Australia clinching a nail-biting three-wicket victory inside three days — the highest individual score 66 by Australian wicket-keeper Peter Nevill.
And most of the players complained of difficulty in seeing the pink ball, particularly during the twilight hours.
Shannon Gill, a spokesperson for the Kookaburra sports equipment company, admitted there was initially a problem but said it has since been addressed.
“There´s been a natural progression of the pink ball since the Adelaide Test. We had feedback that players had some difficulty with vision of the seam (dark green and white), in that the contrast wasn´t great enough,” Gill told AFP.
“So we adjusted to a black seam that was subsequently trialled in first-class cricket (in Australia) with improved visibility. The black seam is now used with all Kookaburra Turf pink balls.”
Gill said improvements had also been made to the seam after concerns over the lack of grip.
“We have also been working on a slightly strengthened seam that we think will allow for better gripping of the ball in these conditions.”
It was the Marylebone Cricket Club — the custodian of the laws of cricket — that decided to explore day-night cricket in 2007 and invited manufacturers to design balls of different colours.
The assignment ultimately resulted in the selection of a pink ball, and Gill believes the longevity of it depends on the condition of the pitch.
“As always with day/night tests the conditions of the pitch and outfield will be as much a determinant as the ball of its success – the more abrasive the more visibility diminishes,” said Gill.
“It´s a constant evolution with the pink ball, we are always looking for ways to improve and modify to suit a variety of conditions. We have a research and development arm that is looking to innovate all the time.”
Gill added that results will be better and better with time.
“Kookaburra have been the pioneers, working with world cricket for the past 10 years to develop the ball, so to see that work now coming to fruition in playing Tests with it is very exciting.”