Day-Night Test matches to threaten red balls

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> The integrity of Test cricket would be fundamentally threatened if the game was played under lights, the media reported here Friday.

Updated: December 16, 2007 11:32 IST
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The integrity of Test cricket, which has at its essence the deterioration of the traditional red ball, would be fundamentally threatened if the game was played under lights, the media reported here Friday.

The Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) said it was worth keeping an open mind about Cricket Australia's proposal to stage day-night Test matches by the end of the decade, but there was "a stack of (practical) things to overcome" before the radical change could be seriously considered, it was reported by The Age in Adelaide on Friday.

The newspaper said that the main problem was the colour of the traditional red ball, which is used in the longer version of the game.

"Test matches revolve around the deterioration of the ball from new to old and that brings the fast bowlers, medium pacers and spinners into play at different stages. We all look forward to the second new ball being introduced after 80 overs when the whole game changes again," Rob Elliott, Kookaburra's managing director, was quoted as saying the daily.

"If they are going to use a light-coloured ball that can be seen at night, the fundamental problem will be discolouration and the constant need to change. We have not been able to solve that problem for 30 years and I can't see a solution now," he said.

"It seems to me to be a bit of kite-flying. Any light-coloured ball is going to get dirty. Are they going to be happy to change the ball every 35 overs? In doing that, you will fundamentally change the game."

The newspaper also said that Australian skipper Ricky Ponting would prefer things stayed as they were but believed options should be explored.

"Everyone I've spoken to who played in those (day-night Sheffield Shield) games thought it was pretty hard work, especially for the batsmen. There's the colour of the balls and all that sort of stuff to get on top of before they even start entertaining the idea," Ponting was quoted as saying.

The white ball used in limited-overs would clash with players' clothing, but a pink ball will be trialled in an interstate women's Twenty20 game Jan 10.

Cricket Australia believes day-night Tests with stumps at 9pm or 10pm, before the end of the decade, could rejuvenate Test cricket by making it more popular, but it is understood the concept has not received broad support among members of the International Cricket Council (ICC).

"We need to ensure our product remains contemporary and popular," chief executive James Sutherland said.

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