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Pink ball went soft quickly at Gabba: Aust

AAP logoAAP 19/12/2016 Rob Forsaith

Australia hope Kookaburra can harden up the pink ball for any future day-night Tests in Brisbane, with Steve Smith concerned at how hard it was to extract bounce from the Gabba pitch.

Australia struggled to bowl Pakistan out for 450 during the first Test in Brisbane, where they claimed a dramatic 39-run victory on day five.

Part of the reason Pakistan built the highest ever fourth-innings Test total in Australia was dropped catches, including two that Smith put down on day four.

Part of it was a pace attack that was guilty of bowling too short and too full at different points of the contest.

And part of it was a pink ball that went soft far too quickly, according to Smith and some of his colleagues.

"We saw in this game that once the pink ball got a little bit softer, probably after 25-30 overs, it was actually quite hard to get players out," Smith said.

"You need to try and continue to improve the product ... pink-ball Test cricket is here to stay."

Smith suggested the pink pill made offspinner Nathan Lyon, who had boasted a better Test strike-rate at the Gabba than Shane Warne prior to the first Test, far less potent at one of his favourite grounds.

"In periods of the game he bowled well. In others he was a little bit off," Smith said of Lyon.

"He couldn't get that bounce ... bowling at the Gabba with the pink ball, that was pretty soft, does make a difficult place to bowl spin.

"He has a great record at the Gabba in red-ball cricket, where the ball stays harder for longer."

Smith added it made Mitchell Starc's key breakthrough on Monday all the more impressive. Starc removed Asad Shafiq with a bouncer on an awkward length.

"To get the ball to rise like that ... a lot of credit has got to go to Mitchell," Smith said.

"The pink ball, being 60 overs old, wasn't really doing much ... it was incredibly soft."

Starc, one of the most outspoken critics of the pink ball prior to last year's inaugural day-night Test in Adelaide, also told the Nine Network it went soft "quite quickly".

"That made the job more difficult, it keeps the bowlers honest," Starc said.

The spearhead expressed similar reservations earlier this year, having played in the day-night Sheffield Shield clash at the Gabba.

"It's still losing its hardness way too early," Starc said at the time.

"After 20 overs it starts to go soft ... we just want to see that ball stay hard for a lot longer."

An attendance of 78,905 was a record for a non-Ashes Test in Brisbane, a fact Cricket Australia (CA) were able to trumpet before day three finished.

But crowds of 4890 on day four and 2593 on day five would have concerned CA chief executive James Sutherland.

There will only be no day-night Test at the Gabba next year but Sutherland has made it clear he'd like to see more at the venue.

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