What is the dew factor in the sport of cricket?

A day-night match in cricket is one where the match begins when the sun shines and ends when the moon shines. Initially restricted to limited overs cricket, the sport now sees day-night test matches that are played with special pink balls.

In a day-night fixture of limited overs cricket, teams often choose to chase. This is because as the evening approaches, a layer of dew is formed on the grass. The dew factor has a lot of benefits for the chasing side. Firstly, the ball skids across the surface and reaches the boundaries faster. Secondly, the ball remains shiny, making it difficult for pacers to swing the ball in their preferred direction. Thirdly, since the ball becomes wet, it becomes difficult for the bowlers to grip the ball and for the fielders to collect the ball.

The dew also makes the pitch damp, thereby negating the bounce of the ball. Not only does the ball stay low, but it also does not turn. The only advantage for the chasing side is that the bowl is visible because of the dew from a distance, that makes it easier for the fielders outside the 30-yard circle.

The dew factor is particularly prominent in venues where the climate is hot during the day. In order to control the level of dew, the ground staff clears up excess dew in between breaks or may also use soppers to reduce the dampness of the pitch. The ground staff also cut the grass more and do not water the grass. At times, a non-toxic spray is used to control the amount of dew.

Thus, given its cons, the dew factor does pose a challenge to the players in trying to defend their total.

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