South Africa tests pink balls in day/night games

South Africa tests pink balls in day/night games

South Africa became the third ICC member to test pink balls in four-day day/night games, analysing issues such as rapid ball deterioration and likely bowler advantage during the trial game.

The experiment in Potchefstroom involved North West Dragons hosting Chevrolet Knights in a game that had no first class status, similar to trials conducted by Pakistan and Australia a few years ago.

The playing conditions saw each day's play starting at 14:30 going right up until 21:30. Cricket South Africa (CSA) match referee, Devdas Govindjee, has been tasked to gather information during the game. Together with the umpiring team, Govindjee was capturing details relating to the match so that a proper assessment of playing at night is done.

The one area that will need attention, according to Govindjee, is the monitoring of the pink match ball that was used in conjunction with black sight screens. "We've had three balls being used in the match so far, after the seam in the first ball split, while the colour of the second ball faded," Govindjee said on the second day of the game.
"The pitch was quite abrasive and that played a part in the ball being changed as well," explained Govindjee.

Chevrolet Knight's skipper, Morne Van Wyk, was one of two centurions on day one and was positive about playing cricket in these new conditions although he was wary about certain other aspects.

"Depending on the time of day, it can get quite tricky especially during the twilight phase where it can get quite hard to bat. However, when it got darker, it got a bit easier to bat," said Van Wyk, who believed that bowlers are likely to have the upper hand under these conditions.

"I can see in the future that bowlers might be keen for this and batsmen not so keen as from what I've seen, it will favour the bowlers," the wicket-keeper batsman added.