India Vs Australia Day and Night Test: The Pink Ball Evolution

Adelaide: ON Thursday, December 17, India and Australia will face each other in the Day and Night Test for the first time, and it will be India’s second time to play a Day and Night fixture in a cricket match, after playing the inaugural Pink Ball Test match against Bangladesh at Eden Gardens in 2019.

The Evolution of the Pink Ball dates back to the year 2009 when it was trialled in a match between England and Australia women’s team in an ODI match. 

In January 2010, the Pink Ball was used in a first-class match played between Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago that was played in Antigua. With these two Pink Ball events occurring in two consecutive years, the other countries started to get the influence to experiment. Finally, in the year 2014, one full round of Sheffield Shield Matches in Australia had all the matches played with the Pink Ball, manufactured by Kookaburra.

India tried a day and Night match long-form cricket match way earlier back in 1997. 

In the same year, in a Ranji Trophy final held between Mumbai and Delhi was played under lights in Gwalior with the white ball. India, however, had a late entry to the day and night test cricket. They refused to take the offer of a day and night encounter in Adelaide when they were heading for the 2018-19 tour. India was the ninth test playing nation to play a test cricket under lights when the hosted Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens in the year 2019. India, however, sealed the match by an innings and 46 runs within 3 days.

It was in November 2015, that the first-ever Day and Night Test match was played between Australia and New Zealand, in Adelaide, where Australia managed to win by three wickets on Day 3. Kookaburra who produces cricket balls for all countries, except for India, England, Ireland and West Indies tried to play with a yellow and bright orange before there was an agreement on using the Pink Ball. 

People are quite curious about why not carry on using the red ball throughout the night. Well, the answer was solely on the batting perspective, because batsmen would find it hard to pick the ball under lights, whereas the pink ball can be easily spotted. When the talk extended to using the white ball for cricket, it came down to a refusal as the ball was not durable enough for test cricket.

Coming to the similarities in the cricket balls, well the core is the same for red, white and Pink. But in the case of Pink balls, there is a coating of a pink pigment on the leather. In addition to this, the pink ball tends to swing too much at the start of the match.

The Kookaburra is has a slightly different pink ball, with the Black Seam. Initially, they used a dark green and White seam, but later it alternated to Black Seem for the Pink Ball. Steve Smith who participated in the first Pink Ball Test played between Australia and New Zealand said that the seam was required to be more visible. The Pink was shifted to Black Seem in the following year.