Cricket Australia's plans for day-night Test cricket have hit a snag after the first day of their pink-ball trials resulted in mixed reviews from players. Pink balls were used under lights in a Futures League match at Adelaide Oval on Tuesday and in a day game in Brisbane and while the visibility of the ball at night was adequate, the condition of the ball was a concern.
Kookaburra's managing director believes a red ball is the only colour that can last 80 overs and during the Futures League games a new pink ball was used from each end, meaning each was used for only 40 overs. But that was long enough for the Queensland fast bowler Alister McDermott to spot problems.
"When the pink ball hits the wicket the paint comes off it," McDermott told the Courier-Mail. "The pink is not dyed into the ball like it is with the red balls, so the paint just wears off in time. That makes it hard to shine, so when it gets roughed up you can't shine the ball like you can shine a red one.
"One of the biggest things is the colour going away. The big thing about the red ball is after 80 overs it may have faded but it is still red, but after 40 overs or so the pink ball is starting to go a bit white."
The New South Wales batsman Ahilen Beadle was happy with how easy it was to see the pink ball in the day match. However, he agreed that after 40 overs the colour was already coming off the ball.
"I reckon it is easier to see than the red ball but it gets scuffed up easier and that is the problem," Beadle said. "You can see the grey parts where it has hit the concrete wall. Little things like that need to get fixed up.
"They need to get more work on the lacquer so it can get through 80 overs rather than 50 overs. It does tend to get soft. I faced the Duke balls a couple of weeks ago between overs 40 to 60 and it was very hard to score."
In Adelaide, the umpire Andrew Collins reported that when standing at square-leg it was often difficult to follow the pink ball, which made it hard to adjudicate waist-high no-balls, but when standing at the bowler's end there were no issues. But another potential concern for day-night Tests arose in Adelaide, where rain meant that play went until 11pm instead of the scheduled 9.30pm cut-off.