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India vs Bangladesh: In Indore twilight, teams adjust to pink

Hindustan Times logo Hindustan Times 17-11-2019 Nilankur Das

Sourav Ganguly must have figured well ahead of most others that probably the only way to woo crowds for a Test against Bangladesh at Eden Gardens would be to get a suspense thriller play alongside as a subplot. So, just weeks after his taking charge at BCCI, India step into the unknown in a hurriedly arranged day-night Test, making a ground rich in history a little richer.

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India, led by Ganguly, had handheld Bangladesh into the world of Test cricket two decades back. On Friday, Bangladesh will return the favour by just being their first opponents in the world of the pink ball. A three-day finish in Indore is more than enough to reassure India that even if most things go wrong, the visitors still have a lot to catch up on in this format to really derail their juggernaut.

Bangladesh got their first feel of the pink ball, at the Holkar Stadium late on Sunday afternoon. Skipper Mominul Haque had said after Saturday's humiliation that they would anyway not need much practice to deal with the pronounced movement the SG pink ball brings to the table. "For two days here we only faced the moving ball," he said. "The ball swung throughout the day on both days we batted. How much more could a pink ball swing?" Haque said with a wry smile.

A couple of hours after Bangladesh began their session on Sunday, Cheteshwar Pujara, Shubman Gill, Hanuma Vihari, Ravindra Jadeja, Rishabh Pant and R Ashwin turned up for a nets session, trying to get their eyes adjusted to the pink ball in Indore's floodlit twilight. Ashwin thinks the ball is more orange than pink. "Sometimes I don't understand if it's orange or pink, still coming to terms with that. The white ball does go around a little bit in the evening in Kolkata. You can imagine what could happen with the pink ball, it has a lot more lacquer. We are all a little wary but excited," Ashwin, who is yet to play a match with the pink ball, had said after Day 2 of the first Test.

Virat Kohli felt the same. "It swings a lot more compared to the red ball because of the extra lacquer, which doesn't go away too fast. And the seam holds upright quite a bit. I think if the pitch has something the bowlers will be in the game, especially fast bowlers throughout the course of the Test," Kohli said.

Another area of darkness surrounding the SG pink ball was that no one really knows how the old ball would behave. Both India and Bangladesh were handed the first set of Test balls in Indore and neither team has trained with it enough to really gauge the behaviour of a 40-80-over ball. "I don't quite know how the old ball behaves because with the dew and the lacquer going off, it will be interesting to see how much the old ball does," Kohli had said.

But unlike the machine-made Kookaburra, with which all the day-nighters have been played so far, SG balls are handmade and have a pronounced seam. This could become the key and bowlers could have a say for longer periods in a match. "The pink-ball Test is going to be exciting, will be a challenge for the batters initially. With the older ball, it doesn't swing that much, so the bowlers will have a challenge. We're just happy to be among the first to play pink-ball cricket for India," Kohli said.

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(Video by ESPNcricinfo)

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