SA to face the tricky pink
Think pink. South Africa will do plenty of just that in the coming days as they prepare to make their acquaintance with cricket's newest toy.
The Proteas will start their tour to Australia at the weekend with a day-night warm-up match using the pink ball at Adelaide Oval.
The visitors will return to the city next month to play what could be the deciding game of the Test series, to be played under the same conditions. That match will be South Africa's first day-night Test.
"I haven't faced or thrown the pink ball around, so it's all pretty new to me," South Africa's captain, Faf du Plessis, said yesterday in Adelaide. "I know some of the guys have pink balls in their kit, especially the bowlers.
"We've asked around a little bit and read the stuff other teams have been saying about the pink ball."
Some of that intelligence has been gathered in-house, what with Test squad members Dean Elgar, Stephen Cook, Temba Bavuma, Dane Vilas and Vernon Philander all having played a day/night first-class match on South Africa A's tour to Australia in July and August.
"That's why we sent guys like Stephen Cook and Vernon Philander on the A tour," Proteas coach Russell Domingo said. "So there is a little bit of experience and they've given us feedback on what conditions are like with the pink ball.
"Australia have only played one Test match [using the pink ball] and that lasted three-and-a-half days," he added. "So I suppose they have got an advantage, but they haven't played that much either."
Du Plessis doubted that AB de Villiers, who has been ruled out of the series by an elbow injury, would fulfil his stated hope of returning in time to play in the third Test.
"We're not expecting it," he said. "If it happens, great. If it doesn't, we have some guys who are capable of putting in good performances.
"... after a big operation like that and from the doctors' reports that I have read it doesn't seem likely that he will be fit."
- TMG Digital