MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia paceman Josh Hazlewood has expressed concerns about the safety of the pink ball to be used in cricket’s first day-night test match against New Zealand.
Hazlewood said the ball was hard to see for fielders square of the wicket late in the day and also felt it was performing more like the white ball of one-day cricket rather than the red ball used in tests.
Hazlewood and his New South Wales team mates had an evening practice session with the ball on Tuesday and the paceman was left with a number of doubts.
“It was a little bit tough to see for the square-on fielders, at point and square leg, it was a bit easier in front of the wicket,” he told local media.
“The time when the sun is setting, those fielders square of the wicket, when there’s someone like (New Zealand captain) Brendon McCullum batting, it’s going to come pretty quickly whether you’re at backward point or square leg.
“It’s going to be tough to see and hang on to. It might be a little bit dangerous but the more we use it… the more we will get used to it.
“We’re adapting on the batting and bowling fronts, it’s just the fielding.”
Australia host New Zealand in the first day-night test in Adelaide from Nov. 27 after years of development and testing of the pink ball.
Fears the ball might prove to be undercooked eased on Friday as New Zealand romped to a 102-run victory in a 50-over tour match against an Australian Prime Minister’s XI side in Canberra.
Opening batsman Tom Latham smashed the pink ball around for a matchwinning 131 before fast bowler Trent Boult used pace and swing to scythe through the hosts’ top order.
Purists, including former Australia captain Ricky Ponting, have reservations about the day-night experiment, and Hazlewood’s team mate and fellow paceman Mitchell Starc also complained earlier this year that the ball could be hard to see and swung differently to the red one.
“If (crowds) can’t see it, they’ll ask themselves what they’re doing there watching,” Hazlewood added.
“I see a lot of similarities with the white ball at the moment, the way it behaves at the start of the innings and after 40-50 overs.
“It’s going to be hard to buff up and get that nice red shine like you would a normal red leather cricket ball, but it’s improved the last couple of years. Whether it’s ready for test matches we’ll find out.”
(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford/Sudipto Ganguly)