India is barely days away from its first ever pink ball Test match. On November 22, Virat Kohli’s India will take on Bangladesh in a historic Day-night Test with many dignitaries from several fields set to be in attendance.
In 2018, BCCI had turned down an offer to play a Day-night Test in Australia. For the record, 11 Day-night Tests have been played so far and Australia are the most dominant team with 5 wins in 5 matches.
So what is so different about the Day-night Tests? For starters, obviously a certain part of the day’s proceedings will be played under lights. Unlike the traditional start time of 9.30 AM for Test matches in India, play will start at 1 PM.
Moreover, pink balls will be used in place of red balls for better visibility under lights.
As the historic Test match approaches, both the Indian and Bangladeshi teams are training in Indore to get used to the pink ball. India had wrapped up victory in the first Test inside 3 days and they have used the extra time to get some sessions with the pink ball.
This historic occasion at the Eden Gardens will be graced by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the sporting greats of India.
8 of the 12 Test-playing nations have had a stint with the pink ball. India are the only major Test-playing nation to have not played a day-night Test while Bangladesh, too, will also be making their debut with the pink ball.
As Kolkata gears up for India’s 1st Test under lights, here we bring to you everything that you need to know about the Pink ball Test cricket:
What is the concept behind pink ball cricket?
With the shorter format of the game coming into picture, Test cricket has been struggling to get its share of viewership. So, the whole idea behind this day-night match is to get the spectator interested in Tests once again.
Soon after his appointed as BCCI president, former captain Sourav Ganguly, who has always been an ardent supporter of Day/Night Test, was successful in convincing both the teams to make their debut with the pink ball.
“That’s the way forward. Test cricket needed a rejuvenation,” Ganguly had said.
“It happens all around the world. Somewhere it had to start. India is the biggest country in terms of cricket. I think that rejuvenation was important.”
India’s last series against South Africa witnessed a poor turnout but the ticket demands for the pink ball Test have been quite high.
Thirty per cent of the online saleable tickets for the first three days (5,905 tickets) has been sold out, while over 3,500 tickets for the fourth day of the second Test have been sold, Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) secretary Avishek Dalmiya had informed.
India’s earlier reluctance to play with the pink ball
India have shown years of resistance against playing a day-night Test. Last year, India had refused to play the Adelaide Test under lights. Cricket Australia were insistent on having a pink ball Test, which has been a convention for all touring teams for the past few years but the BCCI were reluctant to play only the traditonal red-ball matches.
India team coach Ravi Shastri had then informed Cricket Australia that the team will take at least 18 months to prepare for a pink ball Test.
Though India have never played with pink ball in international stage, players like Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay have played Day-Night pink ball matches in Duleep Trophy.
When was the first Day-night Test Played?
The first Day/Night Test was played in 2015 between Australia and New Zealand at Adelaide. Australia won that match by 3 wickets with Josh Hazlewood picking up 6 wickets.
11 Day/Night matches have been played in total, and all of them had a winner. Australia is the most successful side so far in pink-ball cricket, winning all their five games that were all played at home.
Sri Lanka is the second in the list with two wins out of three. England, South Africa and New Zealand have won one Test each.
During England’s tour of New Zealand, Trent Boult and Tim Southee blew away the vistors for 58- their 6th lowest Test total. England managed 320 in their second innings as New Zealand won that match by an innings and 49 runs.
While bowling was on display in New Zealand, the batting milestone came in Dubai during the match between Pakistan and West Indies where Azhar Ali scored a triple century becoming the fourth Pakistan player to do so.
Talking about spinners Devendra Bishoo’s 8/49 in Dubai are the best figures with pink ball.
Match and session timings for historic Test at Eden Gardens
CAB secretary Avishek Dalmiya informed that the play will start each day at 1 pm IST, and by the time it resumes at 3.40 pm IST after a 40 minute Lunch break, the floodlights would be on. After tea break at 5.40 pm IST, the final session will be held between 6 to 8 pm IST.
Who said what about the pink ball
India skipper Virat Kohli has said that the team is “very excited” about playing a pink-ball Test against Bangladesh.
“It’s quite exciting,” Kohli said. “I think it’s a new way to bring excitement to Test cricket. We are all very excited about that. The pink ball I played yesterday, I felt it 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.