The pink ball was successfully trialled in Adelaide during the Sheffield Shield – Getty Images
ESPNCricinfo: Fears about the use of the Decision Review System during the looming day/night Test between Australia and New Zealand have eased considerably after ball tracking technology was successfully trialled during the Sheffield Shield match between South Australia and New South Wales at Adelaide Oval.
Animation Research, the New Zealand-based company responsible for the Eagle Eye ball-tracker to be used during the series, was able to track the pink ball without a hitch during the game, in contrast to less favourable tests conducted in New Zealand some weeks before.
After the initial tests, Ian Taylor, the head of Animation Research, had admitted the technology only worked ‘some of the time’, but after the Adelaide dress rehearsal, he told ESPNcricinfo that the Oval had provided a more agreeable environment for tracking the pink ball. This, he said, was largely to do with the preparation of a well-grassed pitch that preserved the ball’s colour.
“We had a lot of concerns after doing testing down here [in New Zealand] but actually under the conditions that were there and the pitch that was laid it was really encouraging,” Taylor said. “It was always about whether we could actually track it. What we’d been concerned about in the testing we’d done was we were having a lot of trouble tracking it, but with the right pitch and square it went really well.
“It was never just about the pink ball, it was about a whole combination of elements. The pitch was designed for the pink ball so that it maintained its colour much better. It definitely worked - we’d had no trouble tracking a pink ball in our testing, but once it lost colour it was very difficult. But on the pitch they’ll be playing on in Adelaide it stayed pink. We were there for all four days, day and night, and everybody came out very positive. It’s a huge relief.”
Taylor’s earlier pessimism had been driven by a lack of testing time, in addition to the unpromising results returned when the ball-tracker was tried with a pink ball on an artificial pitch in New Zealand. On that surface, the ball had been chewed up considerably – as it was during the Prime Minister’s XI match in Canberra – and its resultant loss of colour had severely affected the accuracy of Eagle Eye.