Day-night Tests January 31, 2010

Night Tests could be 'several years away'

Cricinfo staff

Day-night Test cricket could still be "several years" away, according to the head of the Kookaburra company, who believes a red ball is the only one that can last 80 overs. Cricket Australia have asked Kookaburra to deliver a ball that can be used for Test cricket under lights and a pink ball is being trialled over the next week in Futures League matches.

The ICC and Cricket Australia are keen to hold day-night Tests as soon as possible but Rob Elliot, Kookaburra's managing director, said the time-frame could be longer than the authorities wished. He said the main problem was trying to replicate the way a red ball wears over a day's play.

"I know CA are hoping it might be a couple of years, but in all honesty it could be several years," Elliot told the Sunday Herald Sun. "We'll be doing some trials, but it's a bit open-ended. If we have to make some further changes, we'll have to go through the process again and so it will go on until we can give the administrators something that they can live with.

"I don't believe any ball [other than red] has got 80 overs in it. It's up to administrators to decide what they constitute as being acceptable and what's not acceptable. It's going to cost a lot of money and it has already cost a lot of money. I don't think it's going to be solved overnight."

The problem with a red ball is its visibility at night. Elliot suggested that one option could be to use two pink balls, one from each end, meaning that by the 80-over mark each ball would only have 40 overs of wear and tear.

During the 1990s, yellow and orange balls were tested in Sheffield Shield games and Simon Katich last week said that when he faced the orange ball he felt it performed like a red ball. However, Elliot said the problem with the orange ball was that on television it appeared to develop a "comet-like tail that flared and sometimes got lost in the background".

A Futures League match between South Australia and Western Australia at Adelaide Oval starting on Tuesday will feature pink balls and play will run from 2.30pm to 9.30pm. In the same round of matches, a pink ball will be used in Brisbane for a day game and a white ball will be tested in Melbourne, also for a day game.