What Are The Uses Of New Ball In Test Cricket

You’re watching a cricket test match. Suddenly, you hear: “They’re taking the new ball!” What’s so special about a new ball in test cricket? How many new balls can each team use in a test match? Can a team ask for a new ball any time during a test match? 


Test Matches are the longest form of the game of cricket, generally lasting five days. In test cricket, a team can request a new ball after every 80 overs!

How Many New Balls can each team use in a Test Match?

A new ball in test cricket is used at the start of each innings in a match. It is customary to use a new ball at the start of a new inning. 


The bowling team generally prefers to give their fast bowlers the best opportunity to attack their opponent’s best batsmen at the beginning of the match. 

The shine on a new red ball lasts for approximately 60-70 minutes. However, it lasts longer if it is a new pink ball, lasting for over a session. Consequently, it gives fast bowlers the advantage of a new ball for roughly 30 overs, which often helps in the batsmen’s downfall.


A new ball in test cricket is harder than a worn one, and pace bowlers prefer it because of the ball’s speed and bounce off the pitch. 

At the start of a new inning in Test Cricket, the Umpires give a new ball in test cricket to the bowling side. After 80 overs of the innings are completed, the bowling side can ask for a new ball. On the other hand, if they think the old ball is beneficial, they can continue with it.

Does a New Ball Make a Difference in a Cricket Test Match?

‘In Test cricket, the fielding side may request a new ball after it has been in use for 80 overs.

The new ball usually brings the quicker bowlers back on, and the whole pace of the game would change with them.’ BBC.Sport Academy

Is the New Ball Advantageous for both Bowlers and Batsmen?

  • A new ball in a Test Match makes an enormous difference to bowlers and batsman. 
  • Batsmen can make use of new balls to score some runs quickly. 
  • The new ball is hard and shiny, and it comes on to the bat nicely and moves very quickly through the grass.
  • The new ball swings and cuts through air more than the old ball and travels faster and the pace bowlers exploit it for a conventional swing, gaining an advantage over the batsmen.

Sachin Tendulkar said having two new balls every 80 overs would be the way to take test cricket forward and make sure bowlers are not at a disadvantage.


“Most changes in the game such as better bats and smaller boundaries have benefited batsmen”, Tendulkar said. “The two-new-balls approach would make it fairer”.

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