Ashes 2023: Dukes, the renowned English ball manufacturing firm, is said to be investigating the ball change controversy that significantly impacted the fifth Ashes Test at The Oval. During the fourth innings run chase, Australia seemed to be in control at one point, but the situation took a turn for the worse with the introduction of the ‘replacement’ ball during the last hour of the fourth day.
What happened in the 5th Ashes 2023 test?
On the final day, the Kangaroos experienced a dramatic collapse as England’s bowlers skillfully exploited the new ball, generating significantly more movement than the ball used for the first 37 overs of the innings. The downfall was rapid, with Australia going from 264/3 to 334 all out in a mere 21 overs.
Duke is investigating the possibility that one of the balls from the infamous 2018-19 batch, known for its troubles for batters, might have been mistakenly used as the replacement ball. However, such an occurrence is considered highly unlikely due to the involvement of the county, match referee, and on-field umpires in the process. Additionally, the ball’s date of manufacturing is stamped, allowing easy identification from the rest.
Duke’s owner speaks on controversy
Duke’s owner Dilip Jajodia stated, “Every ball we produce for the specific season has got a date stamp on it. It would have 2023 marked on it. We supply balls to the ground. These balls are not controlled by the ECB or the ICC, it’s controlled by the ground authority. So on this particular occasion (at The Oval) the balls would be done by Surrey.”
Continuing further, he said,”I can’t imagine they would risk putting a ball in there with a different date on it,” he added. “Frankly the match referee should be on top of it. We do bang that number in quite hard, so even if the gold comes off the ball is imprinted. It wouldn’t be easy to get rid of it.“
Before the Ashes series, Dukes had assured of providing livelier balls in response to bowlers’ complaints about a specific batch lacking movement after the lifting of lockdown restrictions.