Why a Day-Night Test at Eden Gardens? And why play with a pink ball?

India plays its first ‘Day & Night’ Test match at Eden gardens beginning Friday. India and Bangladesh also prepare to play with the pink ball for the first time. Here is an explainer

Why a Day-Night Test at Eden Gardens? And why play with a pink ball?

NH Web Desk

The first Day-Night Test match was played in 2016 in a bid to make the five-day format of Test matches more attractive for spectators and to enable them to attend the matches after work.India had resisted playing Day-Night Test matches earlier because of reservations about playing conditions and suitability of playing in floodlights over a five-day period.

Last year BCCI had informed Cricket Australia that India would take at least 18 more months to prepare for a Day-Night Test match. However, the new BCCI President and former Cricket captain Sourav Ganguly, within a week of taking over in October, persuaded Virat Kohli to agree to the format, which, Ganguly believes, is the way forward.

While Ganguly’s faith has been vindicated by the sale of tickets for the Test match beginning Friday, with tickets for the first three days having sold out, there are still a lot of apprehension among players about playing with the pink ball.

While Test matches generally are played with red balls, the One Day Internationals (ODIs) and T20 matches are played with white balls, pink balls are said to ensure better visibility under floodlights.

· The Kolkata Test beginning November 22 will be the first-ever Day-Night Test in India. It will be India's 540th Test

· The Test will be played with an SG pink ball instead of the usual white Kookaburra ball

· The SG manufacturing plant in Meerut was tasked with preparing and delivery of the pink ball for the Eden Gardens Test.

· All Test cricket played in India since 1994 has been played with an SG (Sanspareils Greenlands) ball.

· Cricket balls are made with four layers of cowhide.

· Red balls have a white seam but pink balls have black seams to make it easier for batsmen to spot. Moreover, unlike red balls, grease is not applied on pink balls lest it makes the colour dull and more difficult to see

· The match with start at 1 pm and end by 8 pm, keeping the dew factor in mind at Kolkata, as the ball could get wet after 8 pm.

· The Eden Gardens game will be the 12th Day-Night encounter in the history of Test cricket.

· Australia are the most successful side in the history of Day-Night Tests till date. Australia have a 100 per cent record, winning five out of the five Day-Night Tests played under floodlights.

· Sri Lanka are second on the list of the most successful teams in Day-Night Tests, with two wins in three games.

· West Indies have the worst record of all, having lost three out of three.

· Under dew, India blue coach Aashish Kapoor had compared holding the wet pink ball to holding a bar of soap in your hand.

· Indian players said that the pink ball did a little too much when it was new, but then later on it was very difficult to get it to reverse swing.

· Players also said the ball behaved differently under lights.

Meanwhile, Team India extended their stay at Indore by two days to train under floodlights from Sunday, aiming to get used to the "twilight" ahead of the country's first pink-ball Test. The Bangladesh team also decided to stay back and utilise the time, which they have got because of an early finish to the opening Test.

Team India has had three pink-ball sessions under lights arranged by National Cricket Academy head and former India captain Rahul Dravid at Bengaluru.

"We will specifically train during the twilight because we still don't know what the ball will do during that particular phase," a source close to the team management told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

Many players who have played the Duleep Trophy, including Cheteshwar Pujara, has said that sighting the pink ball at twilight is a challenge as the crimson colour of the sky and the pink colour of the ball makes it look more like orange.

"Obviously, it's a challenge to play with the pink ball. The ball has a lot more lacquer. I haven't bowled a single ball with the pink ball. I just saw it. Sometimes I don't understand if it’s orange or pink, still coming to terms with that," said Ravichandran Ashwin.

There will be match simulation and players are likely to have nets at Indore with black sight screens. The teams will leave for Kolkata on November 19 and train at the Eden Gardens for the next two days.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Published: 17 Nov 2019, 9:55 AM