On Thursday, December 17, India and Australia will square off in a Day and Night Test match for the very first time. It will in fact be only the second time that India will be involved in a Day and Night Test match, after playing their first Test with a pink ball in 2019 against Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens.
Here’s a quick recap of the evolution of the pink ball and Day and Night Test cricket:
* Day & Night Test cricket is played with a pink ball.
* The pink ball was trialed in an England vs Australia women’s ODI match in 2009.
* In January 2010 a first class match between Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago was played with a pink ball in Antigua.
* Other countries also subsequently experimented with the pink ball.
* In 2014 a full round of Sheffield Shield matches in Australia were played with a pink ball manufactured by Kookaburra.
* India experimented with Day & Night long form cricket as early as 1997. In that year the Ranji Trophy final between Mumbai and Delhi was played under lights in Gwalior with a white ball. India however took to Day and Night Test cricket very late. They declined Australia’s offer to play a Day and Night Test in Adelaide on their 2018-19 tour. They were the ninth Test playing nation to play a Test with the pink ball under lights, when they hosted Bangladesh at the Eden Garden last year. India won that match by an innings and 46 runs in three days.
* The first ever Day & Night Test match was played between Australia & New Zealand in November 2015 in Adelaide. Australia won that match by three wickets on Day 3.
* Kookaburra who manufacture cricket balls for all countries barring India, England, Ireland and the West Indies experimented with yellow & bright orange before there was a consensus on the colour pink.
* The reason the red ball was not used for Day and Night Tests is because it was very difficult to pick the red ball under lights. It’s easier to spot the pink ball under lights compared to the red ball. The white ball meanwhile was not preferred because it is not durable enough for Test cricket.
* The core of all the cricket balls (red, white and pink) is the same. For the pink balls the leather is coated with a pink pigment.
* The pink ball usually tends to swing more in the initial part of a match.
*The Kookaburra pink ball has a black seam. Kookaburra first used a dark green and white seam. They later changed it to a black seam for the pink ball. Steve Smith, who was involved in the very first Day and Night Test vs New Zealand had said that the seam had to be more visible. Kookaburra shifted to a black seam in 2016.
* The pink cricket ball has an extra coating of lacquer to maintain the colour and shine longer than the red ball.
* It takes upto 4-5 days to get the right gloss on the pink ball.