Cricket is a game that is played with a small, hard ball, and two teams of eleven players. One of the first things that people notice when they watch a cricket match is the color of the ball. There are two types of cricket balls used in the game - red balls and white balls. These two types of cricket balls have significant differences and can impact the way the game is played.
The most striking difference between a red ball and a white ball is their color. Red cricket balls are used in test matches or first-class cricket, while white balls are used in limited-overs cricket. The main difference in the use of these two-colored balls is that white balls are more visible and hence easier to see during daytime matches, whereas red balls are more visible on the grass and slightly easier to grip when there is dew on the pitch during night matches.
Another major difference between the two types of balls is in their composition. Red balls are made of leather, while white balls are made of plastic. Red balls are stitched by hand with a waxed thread, while white balls are made by molding and fusing together two hemispheres of plastic. The stitching on the red ball causes it to spin more in the air than a white ball, which gives the bowler more opportunities to deceive the batsman.
The nature of the game is different with each of these balls. Red balls are used in test matches, which are the longest form of the game and can last up to five days. In these matches, the bowlers have to take 20 wickets to win the match, and the fielding team has to bowl the opposition team out twice. Red balls have a long lifespan, and they retain their shine and shape for a long time, which makes it ideal for use in the longest form of cricket.
On the other hand, white balls are used in limited-overs cricket formats like One Day Internationals (ODIs) and T20s. In these formats, the game is shorter and can last from three to six hours. In limited-overs cricket, a team bats for a set number of overs before switching with the opposing team, and the team with the highest score at the end of the game wins. Because of the shorter duration of the game, white balls tend to wear down more quickly, losing their shine and shape faster than red balls.
Another difference in the use of these two types of balls is how they behave on the pitch. A red ball is known to swing more in the air than a white ball. In cricket, the swing is a technique used by bowlers to make the ball move in the air unpredictably, making it harder for the batsman to hit the ball. A swinging red ball can be challenging for the batsman to read and negotiate, making it a weapon for the bowlers.
In contrast, a white ball does not swing as much as a red ball. A white ball is designed to be more visible than a red ball, especially under floodlights. The white ball is coated with a layer of paint that makes it easier to see during floodlit matches. However, the white ball does not stay shiny for long and eventually becomes dirty and scuffed, making it harder for the bowlers to grip, and for the batsman to see.
Another difference between red and white balls is how they behave after being hit by the bat. A red ball tends to become softer as the game wears on, and it loses its shape. A soft and worn-out red ball can be harder to field as it becomes difficult to grip, and it makes fielding challenging for the players. On the other hand, white balls remain hard even after being hit multiple times, making fielding easier for the players.
In conclusion, the difference between red balls and white balls in cricket is significant. The color, composition, lifespan, behavior on the pitch, and behavior after being hit are just some of the many differences between these two types of cricket balls. These factors can impact the outcome of a game, depending on the format and conditions in which the game is played. However, both red and white balls are essential components of the game, and their unique features add to the beauty and excitement of cricket.