Why Are Pink Balls Used in Day-Night Test Matches?
India and Australia are set to play a day-night Test match in Adelaide during the upcoming series between the sides. Once again, cricket discussions will revolve around the use of pink balls in place of red balls. In this article, we tell our readers how pink balls differ from red balls and why pink balls are a better choice for day-night Tests.
Leather and Stitching
A major difference between pink balls and red balls is in the type of leather used. The core of the ball — made of cork and cots wool — remains the same regardless of the type of ball. The two types of balls are also stitched in the same manner. However, while the white thread is used to stitch red balls, the black one is used on pink balls.
Use of Wax
Another difference in the manufacture of pink and red balls is in the use of wax on red balls. While red balls receive a wax coating, white balls are not given any such coating of wax. Wax gives red balls their shine that bowlers rely on for swing. As the match progresses, much of the wax gets absorbed by the ball. Bowlers shine one side of the ball to obtain reverse swing. The reason manufacturers of pink balls do not coat their balls with wax is that such coating would turn pink balls black. Instead, manufacturers of pink balls give them a PU (polyurethane)-based coating of polish that will help maintain their shine for about 40 overs. (In a Test match, a new ball becomes due after 80 overs.)
Manufacturers of pink balls ensure that the balls have more pronounced seams than the ones seen on conventional red balls. While a red ball has a synthetic seam, a pink ball has a seam composition that boasts linen and synthetic mixture. The use of linen in a pink ball is intended to absorb dew that can happen after nightfall in a day-night match. Consequently, bowlers will be able to grip the ball better.
Weight and Dimension
The weight and dimension of a ball used in a Test match will remain the same, regardless of whether it is pink or red in colour. Both types of balls are manufactured to weigh between 156 and 162 grams. The circumference of the ball can vary between 71 and 73 millimetres. A Test match umpire is provided with a ‘no gauge’ and a ‘go gauge’, with respective circumferences of 71 mm and 73 mm, through which the umpire must pass any ball used in order to ensure compliance with the laws of cricket.
Assistance to Bowlers
Pink balls are devised to stay new for a longer time thanks to the polish on their surface. Consequently, they are likely to aid swing in the first 10 to 15 overs of use. Its polished surface will also help the pink ball to gain pace off the wicket. Spinners are also likely to get better assistance from the pink ball, after the ball is about 40 overs old, thanks to the better grip, bounce and turn it affords.
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