Australia to trial pink balls in Futures League

A prototype pink ball alongside a traditional white one Clare Skinner

Day-night Test cricket could be a step closer after Cricket Australia confirmed they would trial a pink ball under lights during next week's Futures League match at Adelaide Oval. The test-run is intended to determine how the pink ball holds up in the longer format of the game and how visible it is when used at night.

The three-day game between South Australia and Western Australia's second XIs will be played from 2.30pm until 9.30pm, starting next Tuesday, February 2. At the same time, a Futures League match in Brisbane will use a pink ball while a game in Melbourne will feature a white ball, with both those games to be play during the day only.

If the pink ball does not discolour too much, maintains the characteristics of a red ball throughout an innings and is visible to players and spectators under lights, it could bring day-night Tests much closer. The ICC and Cricket Australia are keen to play Test cricket under lights in an effort to increase the viewing audience and they are hopeful the first games could be played within two years.

"Cricket Australia is committed to finding a way to make day-night Test cricket a reality and the Adelaide Oval trial is one of many steps that need to be taken before this vision is realised," James Sutherland, the CEO of Cricket Australia, said. "The results of the trial won't provide all the answers or a definitive outcome, but it will give us important information and feedback on the delivery of the project."

Next week's games will be followed by further trials to assess how the coloured balls show up on television. The four-day domestic first-class competition in the West Indies this month has already featured day-night games with pink balls as the push for day-night Tests gains momentum.