Concerns over pink ball lasting in Tests

Canberra, Oct 24 (IANS) The main talking point in the aftermath of New Zealand’s 102-run win over Prime Minister’s XI here was the condition of the balls used in the 50-over fixture which prompted concern among both teams as to how it might withstand the required 80 overs in the Test arena.

Australia batsman Adam Voges expressed publicly what players and match officials discussed privately when he revealed that the pink balls used at Manuka Oval here on Friday night “got pretty chewed” once the exterior lacquer coating was worn off, cricket.com.au reported on Saturday.

Only once during the 95.2 overs bowled on Friday did the ball, which has been the subject of four years of work by manufacturers Kookaburra in concert with Cricket Australia (CA) to ensure it’s suitability for Tests, needed to be replaced.

And that was when big-hitting Black Caps opener Martin Guptill launched PM’s XI spinner Ashton Agar over mid-wicket and on to the roof of Bob Hawke Stand from where it could not be retrieved.

But Voges claimed that although the ball was less than 30 overs old at that stage, it was in poor condition, and the one used by New Zealand in dismissing the PM’s XI in 45.2 overs under lights did not fare much better.

“I don’t know if you guys got to see it but there wasn’t much pink left on it at the end of the game,” Voges said after the match when asked how the pink ball had withstood its first international outing.

“The one that got hit on the roof and didn’t come back was 28 overs old and it looked like it was 68 overs old. To be honest it didn’t hold up very well at all tonight. It looked as though the lacquer had come off and it was turning green basically.

“There were bits of pink left, but it was probably more green than pink at the end. It stopped swinging and there was no reverse swing because both sides (of the ball) got chunked up equally.”

With the landmark first day-night Test at Adelaide Oval just 34 days away, it is understood CA have taken the balls used in Friday’s fixture back to Melbourne to examine the level of deterioration it underwent in the course of 50 overs.

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