The Eden Gardens is all set to host India and Bangladesh’s maiden Day-Night Test, starting Friday.
India had beaten Bangladesh in the first Test at the Holkar Stadium in Indore.
And now Virat Kohli’s men will aim for a clean sweep of the two-match Test series.
History beckons both teams in Kolkata and there is a lot of excitement all around as the pink ball makes its entry on Indian soil in international format.
The first ever Day-Night Test was played as early as 2015 but India had been apprehensive about playing the longest format under lights. On multiple occasions, India had said no to hosting or featuring in a pink-ball Test match. However, a total of 11 Day-Night Tests have been played so far. This will be the 12th match.
With the first Test finishing inside three days, both teams got the chance to practice with the pink ball on Day 4 and Day 5 respectively. The likes of Virat Kohli & Co. got going at the nets to get the desired feel of a pink ball.
Recently, Kohli highlighted the major difference between the pink ball and red ball. “I felt it [pink ball] swings a lot more as compared to the red ball because there’s extra lacquer on the ball which doesn’t go away too fast. And the seam holds upright quite a bit.”
There is a lot of excitement around players as well and altogether things look pretty pleasing as far the build-up to the Test continues.
In this article, we analyse the challenges in sight and the positives on offer as well in regards to Day-Night Tests.
Visibility will be an issue during twilight
In an interview with BCCI recently,
India’s senior cricketer Cheteshwar Pujara had stated that visibility will be an issue in twilight and under lights. “Visibility is not an issue during the day, it will be an issue in twilight and under lights, the twilight could be a little difficult. Those sessions will be crucial.” Pujara said.
“Most players have said that picking the wrist spinners’ wrong ‘un is a little difficult.”
To be honest, this will be challenging for the players.
With an afternoon start, things will be different in the day sky.
And then in twilight when the shine goes down a bit, the hardest part arrives.
And then under the flood lights the scenario will once again be different. So, everyone needs to be ready to conquer the visibility part.
The ball will swing more and technicalities will be crucial
The one prime aspect of the pink ball is that it swings more than the red ball.
For both teams, majority of the cricketers will be playing with the pink ball for the first time in their careers.
Only a handful of Indian players such as Pujara, Mayank Agarwal, Hanuma Vihari, and wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav have experience of playing with the Kookaburra pink ball in Duleep Trophy.
It remains to be seen how the SG pink balls shape up at the Eden Gardens.
The bigger picture here is the swing that the batsmen of both sides will need to negotiate.
One definitely needs to up the concentration level.
The Indian skipper pointed out that one requires extra attention to pick the pink ball. “I hadn’t played with the pink ball before,” Kohli said. “I was given an opportunity to try and I wanted to, so that was my mindset behind playing. I think everyone else did it as well. You require extra concentration to pick the pink ball suddenly when you’re playing with the red ball.”
Batsmen need to be highly attentive and pick the balls. The new ball, in particular, will test the batsmen. Expect the ball to do more and zip past the bat. Players need to work on their reflexes and that’s a task.
What about the dew factor?
Bangladesh cricketers were seen practising with wet balls and their spinner Mehidy Hasan said it was due to the dew factor present on the ground.
Dew is expected to be a major factor during the Day-Night Test in Kolkata as it becomes difficult for the spinners to grip the wet ball.
With the Test being played just at the start of winter, one expects dew to be present.
However, since it is the first time both sides are playing pink-ball Test, the timings of the match has been shifted to 1:00 PM rather than a 2:00 PM start.
This is mainly to counter the dew.
Keeping in mind the dew factor, the BCCI approved CAB’s request to change the playing hours in the second Test.
Eden Gardens chief curator Sujan Mukherjee had told IANS that starting early would help in fighting the dew factor. “The dew factor comes into play mostly after 8-8:30 PM as we have seen in white-ball game this time of the year at Eden.
Therefore, I don’t think dew will be a problem.”
However, it remains to be seen how things shape up and the reaction of the SG ball will also be interesting.
Here are the positives of a Day-Night Test
For fans, in particular, this seems to be a big move. Many office going people can go to the venue and catch the match post evening.
And then when you put the players in fray, there is something different for them on offer.
One requires that extra bit of practise, attention and hard work to get used to this format.
It is a realm of the unknown for many of these players and that brings a sort of thrill and excitement all around.
Players can also check how differently the pink ball behaves from the traditional red ball. “It’s about getting that pink coloured ball coming to you,” said Sachin Tendulkar a few weeks earlier.
Moreover, Test cricket needs supporters and fans to get into the stadium.
This concept has worked and in a nation like India, things could suffice well. BCCI president Sourav Ganguly had said earlier, “I know T20 every stand is full in every game.
But proper management of Test cricket will bring back crowd. It’s a start for India. I think with this concept Test cricket will be back on its feet.”
Also, Day-Night matches are most importantly, aesthetically pleasing.
Watching the players dressed in white clothes and playing a Test under lights on the lush green Eden will be a pleasing sight.
Moreover, one can get extra time in D/N Tests in case of rain or bad weather.
Interestingly, the tickets for the first four days are already sold out.
So that is a big plus. 67,000 fans in a packed Eden Gardens cheering will be a spectacle for the ages. “It’s sold out and I’m extremely happy (about it),” said Ganguly here after visiting the BCCI headquarters.
YOU MUST ALSO READ:-
- Jasprit Bumrah To Miss Tests Against South Africa. How Big A Blow Is This For India?
- Simplistic Hanuma Vihari Is Here To Stay In The Indian Test Team
- No Full-Stops In His World: Faf Du Plessis Joins Belfast Titans For Inaugural Euro T20 Slam