Data collected by CA, however, suggests there is no additional risk of batsmen sustaining blows to the head, or contact injuries of any other kind, when facing the pink ball. CA has compiled information on injuries for 20 years and 18 months ago conducted an analysis of the rate of contact injuries sustained by players in pink ball cricket as opposed to with the red ball.
It was done by comparing the number of injuries sustained per hour in daytime first-class and Test cricket and under lights since the pink ball was first introduced in the Sheffield Shield earlier this decade.
Vision has in the past been raised as an issue by players when it comes to the pink ball, with Starc most notably saying in 2015 he couldn’t see it while standing on the boundary. And picking up the ball can be a problem for players who are colour blind such as Australia’s Matthew Wade, who has said previously, “It takes a little bit longer to work out the depth of where it’s coming [from].”
“I thought light and pink ball had a role to play,” Pujara said in Kolkata. “Because as a batsman it’s not easy to pick the ball, especially short balls, the kind of pace our fast bowlers have.
“I think it (the batsmen being hit) is because of the pink ball and playing under lights, because their batters, as far as I know, they haven’t even played any first-class games with the pink ball. It’s not easy.”
Unlike Bangladesh, who had not played a warm-up match with the pink ball before taking on India in the first day-night Test for both nations, Australia and Pakistan are not strangers to the concept.
The Adelaide day-night Test will be the sixth for Australia and the fourth for Pakistan, who had a practice match against Australia A under lights at Optus Stadium in Perth before travelling to Brisbane. A pink Kookaburra ball will again be in use, as opposed to the SG ball in India.
The head knocks in India have also reinforced calls for teams to be accompanied by doctors to assess players who may be concussed, as has been made a priority in Australia.
Bangladesh wicketkeeper Liton was initially assessed by the team physio after being thumped in the helmet, but was cleared to bat on. He faced six more balls before reporting he was feeling the effects of the impact and after another on-field assessment he retired hurt.
“Ideally, every team should have a doctor with them,” said former Australia team doctor Peter Brukner.
“The subcontinent teams tend to not have doctors. It’s really only England and Australia that do – and South Africa’s team manager [Mohammed Moosajee, who has now left their national team] is a doctor – but even New Zealand don’t send a doctor with their team to Australia because they say, ‘You’ve got good doctors over there’.
“There is a grey area and it’s difficult because there is no one test we can do to say little test we can do to say ‘yes he’s concussed’ or ‘no he’s not concussed’, it’s just an amalgamation of symptoms that lead us to a diagnosis.
“To do the proper assessment you really do have to take them off the pitch, so I guess if you’re at all concerned you have to take them off and at least do the assessment.”
Chris Barrett is Sports Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald.