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New balls please! Ball change has big impact on day two

Ben Gardner by Ben Gardner 3 minute read

A change of ball had a big impact on day two of the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston.

After 60 overs, Australia were wilting, with England having marched to 185-2, and Rory Burns having just laced a cover drive to move into the 90s.

Between overs, the umpires concluded that the ball had gone out of shape, and chose a ‘new’ one for Australia to use. Though supposedly of a similar age and condition, the tourists were instantly able to achieve more swing with the ‘new’ nut.

The first ball of the 61st over, delivered by James Pattinson, was a full toss which moved drastically on its way through to Tim Paine. The ball swung 6.43 degrees, over two degrees more than any other ball has moved in the air all Test match, and his first two overs with the ‘new’ ball contained seven of the eight balls with most swing in the Australian innings so far.

With the first ball of his second over, he pinned Joe Denly LBW, and Pat Cummins nicked off Jos Buttler not long after.

The ball moved so much that some pundits thought it must have been from last year’s batch of Dukes balls, which swung throughout the innings, and which suited England’s seamers so much the ECB requested this year’s Test balls be made to the same specification again. However, it has since been confirmed that it was a ball made this year.

It didn’t take long for the ‘new’ ball to stop swinging extravagantly. The first three overs with the ‘new’ ball saw an average of 1.52 degrees of swing, while the next three overs saw the average movement drop to just 0.69 degrees. By then however, the damage had already been done.

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