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  • Specsavers County Championship 3m

    Clarke and Cox give Worcestershire pink ball advantage

    Worcestershire will call upon the experience of two players who have recently been in action under lights with the pink Dukes ball when they take on Durham in a day-night match

    Worcestershire will be able to call upon the experience of two players who have recently been in action under lights with the pink Dukes ball which will be used for this week's Championship day-night match with Durham at the Emirates Riverside.

    Keeper Ben Cox and batsman Joe Clarke will be able to relay to their team-mates the knowledge gained from playing under such conditions for the MCC versus champion county Middlesex in Abu Dhabi during March.

    The pair acquitted themselves well with Clarke scoring 89 and Cox 40 in addition to impressing behind the stumps. All counties are using the pink balls and floodlights for the next round of games in preparation for England's historic day-night Test against the West Indies at Edgbaston in mid August. 

    Cox says adjusting to playing during the twilight period is a crucial factor in dealing with the challenges presented by such fixtures and batting becomes more of a test in that time span.

    When to make use of your most effective bowlers is also a balancing act to contend with and Cox points to the pink Dukes ball remaining harder for longer and therefore a more potent force.

    He said: "The fact myself and Clarkey have played in such conditions recently will help us 100% with the Durham game. I hope it will help us as a group. Hasto (John Hastings) has played some pink ball cricket as well.

    "I'd never played a day-night game before the one with the MCC and it was good experience regarding how to go about the cricket, what to expect, how to use your bowlers, how to bat.

    "We understand what periods in the day are important. Obviously at two o'clock it's about walking out and taking new ball wickets. But it's also about preserving your best bowlers for later in the day, making sure they come back fresh.

    "In the UAE, your opening bowlers would try and take quick wickets, if not you would move swiftly to your spinner and try and get him to bowl tight, build a bit of pressure and then bring your seamers back later into the day at twilight time.

    "It's going to be a different challenge for Leachy (Joe Leach), a balancing act of his bowlers."

    Cox believes the aforementioned twilight period presents one of the biggest challenges partcularly with the pink ball remaining harder for longer.

    He addedd: "It starts nipping around more, it swings more and misbehaves. I don't know why but it is very difficult to bat when that twilight sets in. You are waiting for the twilight period as a fielding team. You are trying to get through to five or six o'clock - or even seven o'clock over here with the twilight here.

    "But conditions change massively. It will be interesting to see the twilight period and how the ball plays here. It stays light over here for a long time whereas in Abu Dhabi you go off for tea and it's twilight and you come back after tea and it's pitch dark. That change of light happens a lot quicker.

    "But over here, it will be interesting to see how it plays particularly with it staying harder. Obviously the harder the ball stays, the more it does. Even on an abrasive surface in Abu Dhabi, we managed to bring the ball back to a good condition and with the overheads it started swinging and nipping around.

    "It's a bit like when we had the 10.30 starts in the Royal London One-Day Cup. The ball always did a bit more. It's almost like that when you get that twilight period."

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