11 Differences Between Red Ball and White Ball in Cricket

difference between the red and white balls in cricket

The cricket game makes use of different cricket balls although it’s the same game of cricket. This pretty much raises the question especially among first-timers, the differences between these balls used in the “same” game of cricket. In this article, I did comprehensive research on all the differences between the red ball and white ball in cricket.

So, what’s the difference between the red ball and white ball? The primary difference between the red ball and the white ball apart from their obvious color is that the Red ball is used during test matches while on the other hand, the white ball is used in Twenty20 (T20) and One Day International (ODI) cricket competitions.

In addition to the color and the types of events in which the red and white balls are used, there are a few other unique differences you will definitely be curious to know about. I’m excited to share with you all the remaining differences between the red ball and white ball in cricket!

The Red Cricket Ball

The red cricket ball represents the traditional iconic ball for the cricket game. The red ball is particularly used in the Test cricket matches which has the longest match duration, and is considered the game’s highest standard.

The red cricket balls are also used in First-class cricket which is a high-standard official category of international or domestic matches. First-class matches can last up to 3 days or more.

The strength of the red ball lies with how well it performs during testing and first-class cricket. But the red ball like all other things has its minuses as it’s not suitable for night test matches due to poor visibility of the ball.

The White Cricket Balls

As far back as early the 1937s, moves for the introduction of other colored balls were proposed. The white cricket balls were eventually introduced purposefully for one-day matches. The white balls began to be used at night under floodlights because it was more visible.

Today, all professional single day games are with white cricket balls. So experts indicate certain distinctive peculiarities on how the white ball behaves. These peculiarities include how the white balls swings. The white cricket balls swing better in the first half of an inning compared to red balls.

Along with such great qualities about the white balls come a few downsides that is being widely discussed around the cricket fraternity. The challenges associated with the white balls range from it wearing out much quicker and becoming dirty much easily defeating the purpose of visibility for which it was introduced.

It becomes a serious challenge for batsmen to sight the ball after a little over 30 – 40 overs of use. Many initiatives have been put in place to prevent this horrible batsmen’s experience of hindered sight. For example, during the 1992 and the 1996 cricket world cup championships, the white ball was swapped towards the end of the 34th over with a reconditioned ball which was not too dirty to obscure visibility of the ball.

Differences Between Red Ball and White Cricket – Summary

Although the red and white cricket balls are both used in the same game of cricket, there are several little things that distinguish between the two. Here’s a summary of the differences between the red and white balls.

Red Cricket Ball White Cricket Ball
1. Used in the Test cricket
and first-class cricket matches
Used for one-day matches
2. The red ball is unsuited to
night tests
It has supreme visibility better
than both the red and pink balls
and is very visible under floodlights
3. Used in day time games Used in night time matches
4. More durable than the white
cricket balls
White cricket ball deteriorates
5. Swings less Swing a lot more in the first half
6. The cherry red color of the
red ball doesn’t become as
dirty as the white ball would
White balls become dirty or dull
in color much quicker
7. Suited for first-class cricket Not suited for first-class cricket
8. It can be used for more than
80 overs which is basically
five hours and twenty minutes
of play
It cannot be used for 80
overs as specified in the rules. It’s
suited for games with limited overs
9. Its leather is not as heavily
dyed as the white balls
The leather of a white ball is
heavily dyed
10 The red balls are slightly less
hard than the white balls
The white balls are harder than the
red balls
11 They are less smoother The white balls are more smoother
than the red balls

What are the Similarities Between Red Ball and White Ball?

  • Both are produced using almost the same processes
  • The red and white balls are made using the same type of materials: They are both made using a cork core with a leather outer layering
  • The leather on the outer layer are stitched together
  • Almost the same rules are applied in the case of both balls

Who Makes these Balls?

There are basically, 3 main manufacturers of the cricket balls used for international cricket games and these companies include Dukes, Koobaburra, and SG. The cricket balls produced by these companies, although they adhere to the same manufacturing rules, behave completely differently.

The Dukes balls have more pronounced seams which cause it to swing way more than that of the kookaburra balls. This can be a great advantage to a team that’s familiar with the Dukes ball leaving the team which is not used to it bewildered.

Related Questions

What is the weight of the International Test Cricket ball?

Overall, going by the rules, the ball has to wight between 155.9 g and 163 g. Generally, for men’s cricket, the ball according to strict cricket manufacturing rules when new should not weigh less than 5½ ounces that is 155.9 g or more than 5¾ ounces that is 163 g and should not also measure less than 22.4 cm or more than 22.9 cm in circumference.

For women’s cricket, the weight of the ball should range between 425/16 ounces, that is, 140 g to 55/16 ounces, that is, 151 g with a circumference of ranging from 8¼ inches that is 21.0 cm to 87/8 inches that is 22.5 cm.

Finally, for Junior cricket – Under 13, the weight of the ball should range between 411/16 ounces, that is, 133 g to 51/16 ounces, that is, 144 g with a circumference of ranging from 81/16 inches that is 21.5 cm to 81/8 inches that is 22.0 cm.

What are the differences between a red and a pink ball?

The main difference between the red and pink ball is that both balls differ with regard to the colors the balls produce under the yellow floodlights, thread colors used, the size of the seams, and the peculiar swing and bounce of the balls.

However, the core (inside quilt) of the ball remains the same that cots wool and cork. There is also no difference in the manner in which the balls are stitched.

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Why does the white cricket balls swing more than red ones?

The white balls typically swing more only in the early over. The white ball in early overs swings more than the red ball because of the paint coating used. The paint coating makes the surface more smooth and causes it to swing much better than the rough red balls.


Hi! I’m Kwabena, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leathercraft enthusiast and I’ve been that for almost 13 years now. I'm excited to share my experiences and all the new stuff I learn each day about leather craft, leather cleaning & care, and everything in-between!

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