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India v England

Graphic suggests pink ball significant factor in low scoring third Test

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

A significant part of the post-Test coverage and analysis after England’s two-day Test at Ahmedabad focused on the pitch.

Pundits from around the world weighed in on the debate about whether the pitch was suitable for Test cricket, though players from both sides refrained from criticising the surface outright.

England skipper Joe Root suggested that the pink ball used for the day/night Test skidded on more than a red ball would have done, contributing to the testing batting conditions. This claim was later refuted by his Indian counterpart Virat Kohli. A number of batsmen from both sides fell to deliveries that didn’t noticeably turn, including all four of India’s right-handed top five who fell to spin in their first innings.

On the first day of the series finale at the same venue, a graphic displayed by the host broadcaster suggested that the pink ball did behave differently to the red one.

Comparing three deliveries from the third Test with three balls from the fourth, the graphic explained that the pink ball lost between 12 and 15.1 per cent of its pace from the bowler’s release to the batsman, while the red ball between 20.1 and 23 per cent, perhaps explaining why such a high percentage of dismissals in the third Test were to deliveries that didn’t turn. In the ongoing fourth Test, while England struggled on the opening day, non-turning deliveries from India’s spinners were generally less threatening than they were in the preceding game.

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