Ashes 2021/22: why is a pink cricket ball used in the 5th test between Australia and England in Hobart?

England and Australia use the pink ball for the last time in this Ashes series on Friday

Hobart has finally been chosen as the location for the final Ashes series in what has been a near catastrophic disaster for England.

With England trailing 3-0 in their final game, they have nothing but pride to play for as they hope to take advantage of the English-like conditions on the ground.

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Not only will England hope to get away without a 4-0 defeat, certain players will be playing for their future in the squad.

Serious questions will be asked about the preparation and mindset of English Test cricket after its conclusion in Australia, with many players hoping to survive what could well be a cull in the team.

Haseeb Hameed initially looked like a regular batsman opening option but has since noticed little that would make his place in the squad look anything but shaky, while Jonny Bairstow will hope to capitalize on the century he made in Sydney.

For the final test in Tasmania, we are once again treated to the pink ball and the day/night format of the Tests.

The day/night tests come with their own challenges and one of the notable differences between these tests and the normal 11am start is the ball. A traditional red ball is used in day tests with the option of a new ball every 80 overs. However, in 2015 a pink ball was first introduced in Test cricket when Australia played against New Zealand in the first ever day/night Test match.

Here’s everything you need to know about the pink ball and the history of day/night Test cricket

When were day/night tests first introduced?

Matches were played under floodlights as early as the 1950s, but it wasn’t until the 2000s that there was the possibility of test matches being played in the same environment.

The first lit first-class match to use a pink ball was played between Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago in 2009

The pink ball was also tried by Cricket Australia and some franchises of the Indian Premier League and Bangladesh Cricket League.

Alastair Cook scored a double century in England’s first every day/night test in 2017

The 2013-14 Sheffield Shield season included three day/night first-class matches with pink balls, but the first time the pink ball was used in an international capacity was during the first-ever day/night Test match in 2015. Australia hosted of New Zealand at the Adelaide Oval and a pink ball was used.

England played their first-ever day/night test in 2017 during their home series against the West Indies. The game took place in Edgbaston and England won by an innings and 209 runs thanks to a double century from Alastair Cook and a century from Joe Root.

Why do day/night tests use a pink ball?

Quite simply, the pink ball aids in visibility when the floodlights are turned on and the hours darken.

The traditional red ball is not suitable for the day/night tests because it is harder to see when the sun goes down. If Test Matches are played later in the evening, fast bowlers are often asked to resign and only spinners are allowed to bowl because the visibility of a fast ball becomes too dangerous when the light fades.

In addition, the cue ball used in one-day cricket is conditioned to deteriorate faster and cannot be used for eighty overs as specified in the cricket rules.

The pink ball is therefore designed to compromise on both counts. It is considered even harder to see than the white ball, but the leather is dyed more strongly than the red ball, which helps to preserve color and visibility, as well as giving it slightly different wear properties.

Are there any other differences between a red and pink cricket ball?

It is likely that the differences between the two Test cricket balls are very dependent on the manufacturer. Duke, Sanspareil Greenlands and Kookaburra all use different seams for different colored balls, but the pink ball is much closer to the red one than most think.

Despite the common theory that the pink balls are lighter, there is in fact no difference in weight. All cricket balls, including the white balls, weigh between 156 and 162 grams.

Scientists have also tried to disprove the theory that the pink ball swings more than the red one. This action would certainly benefit the bowlers, especially James Anderson, who is often referred to as the ‘King of Swing (bowling)’.

dr. Speaking to the Indian Express, Rabindra Mehta, an experimental aerodynamic scientist at NASA, said: “All the other perceptions of the pink ball are just nonsense I think, including this theory that it sways more during the twilight session.

“As far as the ball and its characteristics are concerned, the weather conditions will not change that. I have written a lot of articles and have categorically said that the weather does not affect the swing.”

England will play their second Test in Adelaide on Thursday, December 16, 2021, with play starting at 4am GMT every morning.

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