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Time for an altogether brand new ball game

cricket Updated: Oct 10, 2011 02:49 IST
Nilankur Das
Nilankur Das
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

If restricting the Powerplays between the 16th and 40th overs is going to make the job of captains a touch more interesting, as MS Dhoni put it, the fresh rule of using two new balls from either ends is likely to open up a new dimension in one-dayers, especially under lights on Indian wickets.

On the face of it, two new balls per innings will keep them harder; the shine will stay longer and the ball will swing over a longer period, encouraging medium-pacers to run in harder in their later spells. But most of these aspects hold good only for the first innings of a day-night game. http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/101011/10-10-11-metro16d.jpg

Dew factor
Once the lights come on and with it the dew, Indian wickets which are generally slow, low and slightly two-paced become a lot benign. The dew makes the ball skid off the surface and come nicely on to the bat. "The wicket surely became a lot better to bat on under lights," England all-rounder Ravi Bopara said on Sunday.

So in the five-match series between India and England (all day-night games) beginning Friday, the team batting second would hold an advantage. A dry ball in the second session, when changed after 34 overs, increased the chances of a pacer getting a breakthrough. Now, wet balls from both ends could tilt it heavily in favour of batsmen.

"We realised quickly that with the lights on we had to bowl a lot fuller. But of the two balls only one was doing a bit. I had changed ends and found out the other ball was not doing anything at all and I switched back," Bopara said., after Saturday's warm-up game. If that happened regularly, captains will also have to keep a bowler's end in mind. Moreover, after getting whacked around the park with the new ball, the likes of Zaheer Khan coming back strongly and reverse swinging the older ball, something that played an important role in India's World Cup win, could be a thing of the past.

No spin in the tail
It could also see spinners come on very early in the second session, although the experience of bowling during Powerplays in T20 matches could come in handy for the likes of R Ashwin. Spinners could have very limited scope later in the second innings. If dew makes it difficult for them to grip the ball, the excess shine now could render it even harder.