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Friday, April 10, 2020

India firm favourites at Eden as ‘Pink Revolution’ starts in Kolkata

India vs Bangladesh at Kolkata's Eden Gardens is expected to be a grand spectacle. As far as the series is concerned, India lead the two-match rubber 1-0 after an emphatic win in Indore.

Written by Rahul Sadhu | Kolkata | Updated: November 22, 2019 7:27:17 am
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India vs Bangladesh will be the 42’nd Test match at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Interestingly, this ground was also the venue when the first pink-ball game on Indian soil was played between Mohun Bagan and Bhowanipore in the Cricket Association of Bengal’s (CAB) Super League final in 2016.

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The Story So Far

With the historic Day/Night Test between India and Bangladesh set to take place at the ‘Mecca of Indian cricket’ – Eden Gardens, let us travel back in time and relive how pink-ball cricket infused new life into crickets oldest format.

Test cricket was facing a threat for quite a while since the white-ball revolution and the time had come for its custodians to make a bold statement. Thus came the day/night Test with the shiny pink ball to bring back the waning audience.

After getting the green light in 2012, it was finally on November 27, 2015 that the first day/night Test was held between Australia and New Zealand at Adelaide. More than 1 lakh spectators came to the ground and the game was a huge hit. Day/night was here to stay.

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Soon enough other countries like England, South Africa, West Indies, Pakistan joined in to welcome the new idea. However, India were late to the party and gave their approval only after newly-elected BCCI President Sourav Ganguly pushed it forward as India captain Virat Kohli took just three seconds to agree.

Team News

From the current squad, only a few have the experience of the pink ball. Mohammed Shami, Wriddhiman Saha are among those who have played at Eden Gardens with a pink ball in the CAB Super League final of 2016. However, that encounter was played with a pink Kookaburra while the match on Friday will be played with the SG pink.

Kohli, on Thursday, said that he is aware of the challenges that lie ahead but said that the pink ball felt like a “heavy hockey ball”. Hence, not only will it be a challenge while batting but also in fielding.

The Indian captain is 32 runs shy of completing 5000 runs as India’s captain in Tests and if he does reach the milestone tomorrow then he will be the only Indian captain to do so.

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Going by the looks of it a day-night Test on a greenish surface gives India a huge advantage, given the quality of pace attack they have. A five-bowler strategy cannot be ruled out but playing two spinners will be a luxury that India cannot afford. Further, Bangladesh are a squad without their two most experienced cricketers – Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan – hence making the hosts as firm favourites to win the match.

For the Bangla Tigers the batting line-up should remain the same but with the pink ball assisting pacers, Mustafizur Rahman could get a look in.

One of the main issues concerning the players is what happens when the dew comes in to play after the sun sets early. Also, The twilight zone will be an interesting challenge for the Indian batters, especially Kohli who has no pink ball experience at any level.

Pitch Report

All the talk and concern will be around the twilight zone and the possibility of dew coming in the latter part of the day. Shedding light on the same, Eden Garden pitch curator Sujan Mukherjee told the indianexpress.com, ” Dew is setting in after 6 PM. But we are prepared to ensure it does not trouble players.”

Addressing concerns about the amount of grass on the pitch, Mukherjee said, “Eden has always had a tinge of grass on it. This is nothing new. But that does not mean spinners will not get any help. They will get the ball to grip and get some amount of turn.”

Timings and Conditions

Toss will be held at 12:30 PM IST and match starts at 1 PM IST. Play will end by 8 PM to counter the dew. Lunch will be at 3 PM IST after which the second session will resume at 3:40 PM IST. Tea will be taken at 5.40 PM with a 20-minute break. The last session will begin at 6 PM IST with play finally ending at 8 PM.

With winter setting in Kolkata there will be dew on the ground. As a result the ball will get heavier and at times slippery which could make life easier for the batsmen. Countering dew will be one of the challenges for the team bowling in the evening.

As far as the series is concerned, India lead the two-match rubber 1-0 after an emphatic win in Indore.

Form guide

India- WWWWW (last five Tests, most recent first)

Bangladesh- LLLLW

Squads

India: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Shubman Gill, Rishabh Pant

Bangladesh: Shadman Islam, Imrul Kayes, Mominul Haque (c), Liton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Mohammad Mithun, Mossadek Hossain, Mehidy Hasan Miraj, Taijul Islam, Naeem Hasan, Mustafizur Rahman, Al Amin Hossain, Ebadot Hossain.

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