Sydney - Cricket Australia says it intends
to proceed with next month's contentious first-ever day-night Test despite
player unease over the experimental pink ball to be used.
The historic Test is scheduled for Adelaide
Oval on November 27 between Australia and New Zealand in a move authorities
hope will boost television audiences and usher in a lucrative new era for the
Manufacturer Kookaburra said it has tried
to sculpt a suitable ball for the occasion - something that is visible under
lights but behaves similar to a traditional red ball.
But the innovation has been criticised by
players, with new Australia skipper Steve Smith saying on Wednesday he had
trouble seeing the seam after batting against it for the first time.
Senior Australian batsman Adam Voges added
that the pink ball did not hold up well in recent games against New Zealand in
Canberra, while one-day international paceman John Hastings scoffed: "The
ball doesn't move off the straight.
"All you got to do is set straight
fields, it's quite a boring brand of cricket when you do have that pink
ball," he said.
It has sparked calls from some for Cricket
Australia to revert the Adelaide Test back to its traditional day-time
schedule, but the organisation is having none of it.
"We're confident with the work that's
been done on the pink ball over many years and Kookaburra have been developing
it over seven years," a CA spokesperson said.
"We've had two successive seasons of
Sheffield Shield cricket where pink balls have been trialled."
CA said the move to stage part of each
day's play under lights was to suit fans.
"The day-night Test is all about the
fans. We are challenged in the early parts of the season - the first month of
the summer when kids are still at school and adults are working. It's difficult
to get people to the cricket," the spokesperson said.
"That's why time shifting the ordinary
hours of the Test match to later in the day will allow more people to attend
the matches and watch on TV."
CA said ticket sales for the Test have been
"incredibly strong" with the interest shown by fans on par with an
Ashes series against England.
Kookaburra has defended its pink ball and
said it had gone through rigorous testing.
"I don't think any Test ball has gone
through the level of testing and development that the pink ball has got and the
number of trials and feedback," Kookaburra managing director Brett Elliott
"I think there is probably more data
on the development of this ball than there is on any ball before it was entered
into the first-class arena."
But still there are questions about its
use, just weeks before the hotly debated day-night Test in Adelaide.
Smith, batting this week for his New South
Wales state side, said he had trouble sighting the pink ball, even though the
entirety of his innings against Queensland was played in daylight.
"I found it quite hard to see the
seam," he told reporters.
"I found it quite hard to tell when
the bowler was sort of trying to swing it a certain way, or sometimes with the
spinners, it was a bit hard to pick up."
But overall he thought the pink balls
"played quite well".
"It looked like it held together quite
well throughout the day, probably a lot better than it did on the more abrasive
surface of Canberra, so that is I guess good signs."
Former Test fast bowler Ryan Harris said it
was time players accepted the radical change.
"It's here to stay," he said of
the pink ball.
"It's new, it's like when Twenty20
came in - no one knew how it was going to go. Players had to adapt to it and
that's what they will have to do here."