(Reuters) – An older Dukes ball with a more prominent seam will be used in England’s tests against Ireland and Australia this year instead of the new version being used in the County Championship, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said on Wednesday.
The ball for this year’s County Championship was designed with the smaller seam at the behest of the ECB’s Cricket Committee to bring better balance between bat and ball during the early and latter parts of the domestic season.
However, the ECB decided that the ball for international matches in the summer would be made to the same specification as those that were used in the 2017 and 2018 home test programmes.
“It is felt that the 2017-18 specification Dukes ball on test match pitches has produced highly entertaining cricket that has helped promote the test format,” the ECB said in a statement.
England will warm up for the five-match home Ashes series against Australia starting on Aug. 1 with their first ever test against Ireland, which will be a four-day contest in July.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)