Day-Night Test: India join the Pink Ball Party :- India and Bangladesh will play their maiden day-night Test with the pink ball, at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Friday with the ball already becoming a main attraction ahead of the clash.
India join the Pink Ball Party
Interestingly, the 1st ever Day-night Test was played in 2015 and 8 Test-playing nations have already taken a taste of Pink-ball cricket with Australia leading the charge by featuring in 5 of the 11 matches so far. Playing with the Kookaburra pink ball, hosts Australia – strong advocates of the format – took on and defeated New Zealand at Adelaide Oval in November 2015. Since then, nations including England, Pakistan, South Africa and West Indies have all played at least one day-night Test. After saying ‘no’ to almost 4 years, India is going to play a Test match under light for the 1st time.
Reportedly, Sourav Ganguly had played a big role in infusing Pink ball cricket into the system. Under his tenure as Cricket Association of Bengal President, the 1st ever Pink ball match was played in India — Bengal Super League final in 2016.
1st Day-Night Test IND vs BAN
Just two days after becoming only the second Indian captain to hold the president’s post, Ganguly on 25 October confirmed that skipper Virat Kohli was “agreeable” to the idea of playing the team’s first pink-ball Test.
The BCCI then extended a proposal to the Bangladesh Cricket Board that the second Test of the two-match series, scheduled to be played in Kolkata starting 22 November, be a day-night game.
India first experimented with pink-ball cricket during the Duleep Trophy domestic championship in 2016, but decided to switch back to the traditional format after three seasons, with the games being played in the day with red balls this year.
There were multiple objections to the pink SG ball in use, with the bowlers – spinners mainly – complaining that the pink lacquer used was of inferior quality and it took them out of equation. The batsmen complained that the pink ball was difficult to sight during twilight hours when the ball swings the most.
The same year, the CAB’s Super League final between Mohun Bagan and Bhowanipore Club played at Eden Gardens was a day-night game played with the pink ball.
Three years after the first day-night Test match, Australia had invited India to play a pink-ball game at its unofficial home venue Adelaide during the tour of 2018-19. Virat Kohli and co had however declined the offer, saying that the team wasn’t ready even as some claimed that India didn’t want to hurt their chances of winning on Aussie soil by experimenting with the format.
Head coach Ravi Shastri had even agreed to play day-night Tests against West Indies at home before deciding to inform the Committee of Administrators that the team wasn’t ready. He had said that the team would need 12 to 18 months to prepare for the challenge of playing against the pink ball under lights.
However, Ganguly has always backed pink ball Tests, even recommending that domestic tournaments be played under lights during his time as the head of the BCCI’s technical committee in 2016-17.