Dew factor – How is Dew formed in cricket grounds?

Dew is nothing but little drops of water formed on the grass (even in the absence of rain). In cricket, the dew formation can be easily observed in grounds which has a grass outfield. Most of the times dew starts to form when the match goes on, into the evening.

You might have seen fielders in the outfield stumble/ skid or find it difficult when trying to stop the ball or catch the ball. Dew is the reason why cricket ground and consequently the ball used in these grounds become slippery as the game progress. 

Now that we know why cricket grounds becomes slippery, let’s understand why dew is formed. Particularly in the evenings and night games.

Science behind dew formation in cricket grounds:

Dew comes into play mostly in humid conditions. I’m confident you would know concept of evaporation.

Now when water evaporates during the daytime i.e. when the atmospheric temperature is warm, air has capacity to hold the water vapour. Air molecules (i.e. air that we breathe) in warm temperature, has the ability to hold the gaseous state of water, when evaporation takes place.

And as the day moves on, the temperature decreases in the evening making the atmosphere or air cooler. This in turn reduces the air molecule’s ability to hold the water vapour.

At a certain point when the temperature reaches its limit, the air molecules also reaches its limit to hold the water vapour. Any further decrease in the atmospheric temperature, the air molecules losses its ability to hold the water vapour.

As a result, the water vapour starts to condense. Thus, forming dew all across the cricket ground.

The best relatable example is your water bottle. Yes, you heard me right its your water bottle.

Observe your bottle when it is at room temperature vs when the bottle is kept in a fridge (cooler temperature). Do you notice any difference in the bottle? I’m sure you will.

When the bottle is kept at room temperature, no water droplets is formed on the surface of the bottle. But, when the bottle is kept in a cooler temperature we can see water droplets formed on the surface of the bottle.

I hope the example helps you understand how dew forms on the cricket ground.

Note: Interestingly in places with high-speed winds, like Australia or New Zealand, rarely do you see dew factor come in play.

Why is it so? Let me know your thoughts.