The first trial of a pink ball has been rated favourably by Queensland women who made history by using one in an exhibition Twenty20 match against Western Australia on Thursday evening at the Gabba. Both Jude Coleman and Jodie Purves said the ball held together well, and it was even better than the white one used in limited-overs cricket as, unlike the white ball, it kept its colour throughout and was harder, too.
Pink balls are being trialled following development in London, England over the last few months, with the MCC thinking of introducing them in county one-dayers next year with a long-term view for one-day internationals.
The logic is that a pink ball may be seen more easily, and a fraction earlier, by a batsman than a white one, and the initial trial would seem to have shown that. Also at stake is whether the balls keep their colour, and again this seems to have been the case, although it was only a Twenty20 and not a longer match. One potential problem, however, is that the seam does not show up so well.
Coleman, who was delighted to part of history and support breast cancer charities at the same time, said: "It's always going to be difficult in the first few overs when it's something we're not used to. It wasn't detrimental to the game and in fact it played better than the white ball. The pink ball's a bit harder but it didn't discolour at all. Being the first teams to use a pink ball, it's pretty special."
Purves, the Queensland wicketkeeper, said she had little trouble seeing it under the lights. "You can pick it up pretty well, and it held up pretty well, too."
Several thousand witnessed the history-making match, which acted as a curtain raiser for the men's Twenty20, and it was one of the best crowds the women had ever had in their first match at the Gabba.
"We were pretty happy with our total," said Coleman, who topscored with 62 from 43 (pink) balls to blast Queensland to 8 for 134. She and Purves (41) lifted them from 4 for 34 with a fifth-wicket stand worth 95. But Western Australia, through Renee Chappell's unbeaten 35, hunted the total down with four balls to spare to win by five wickets.
Over in Adelaide, South Australia also made a successful chase courtesy of Karen Rolton's unbeaten 90 and Kris Britt's 51 not out in a second-wicket stand of 135 to chase down their target of 158 with ten balls remaining, a fair margin in the short game. Both sides' batsmen sparkled in an excellent display of hitting over the top, and deft late cuts as the teams made use of the practice ahead of Friday and Saturday's WNCL encounters.
The Scorpions need a win with a bonus point against Victoria to ensure a place in the one-day final against New South Wales in Sydney later this month. Queensland are also in the hunt for the final spot.
Jenny Thompson is an assistant editor at Cricinfo