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Thursday, December 12, 2019

Pink ball Test a huge hit in colourful Eden Gardens but fans want more quality

India, leading 1-0 in the two-match series, used fast and aggressive bowling in the first pink-ball test for either team to dismiss the tourists for 106 in 30.3 overs

Written by Rahul Sadhu | Updated: November 23, 2019 8:04:16 am
Ishant Sharma dismisses Ebadot Hossain. (PTI Photo)

“Someone please tell Bangladesh that this is the Pink Ball Test, not the Ink Ball Test,” shouted a fan amidst loud boos when the seventh Bangladeshi wicket fell for 82. “Will they at least reach 100?” wondered another. India was pulling a strong arm against Bangladesh, separating the boys from men.

Fans at Eden Gardens. (Twitter)

Not to take away anything from the entire occasion or team India’s performance but Bangladesh was simply disappointing with their effort on Day 1 of the pink ball Test in Kolkata on Friday.

If there is one ground in this world that loves a competitive duel then it is the Eden Gardens. But the sheer lack of it left a large section of the fans in utter disappointment.

Not so much because of lack of talent, rather bereft of grit, gumption and other things associated with a keen and competitive side.

A lot of hype surrounded this pink ball Test but if this match gets over in three days or India wins it once again by an innings then it will not be a jubilant memory.

It all boils down to the quality of cricket.

At the start, one could be in doubt if the pink ball was doing something drastically different.

Bangladesh’s poor cricket may have made it seem like the ball did too much. There is a lot wrong with Bangladesh batting and this series has exposed that frailty.

“Why and how would you want to bat first while venturing into the unknown?” wondered 30-year-old Siddharth Bhunia, an IT professional.

Eden Gardens looked picturesque under lights. (Express Photo by Rahul Sadhu)

“I took the early morning flight from Hyderabad. After dropping my bags at home, I came straight to the ground without getting a wink of sleep. I did not want to miss being a part of history. But this is utterly disappointing. Even on the field they seemed to have given up. They surely need some self-introspection after this Test.” he rued.

“We also want Bangladesh to do well in test. Both in day and pink ball day and night. Because we want the game to be competitive,” he added.

Another issue that came to the notice of cricket lovers at the ground was poor over rate. Just 76.3 overs were bowled which means precisely 11.3 overs short given that 2 overs are deducted for change of innings.

However, some saw the lighter side of it and said it was paisa vasool as they got to see both teams bat.

“I always wanted to see Virat Kohli bat under lights. That cover drive was simply mesmerizing. Maybe when a team like Australia visits the subcontinent it would be worth the watch. We definitely want another pink-ball Test but more quality,” said 24-year-old student Bijit Neogy.

The prospect of someone like Mitchell Starc steaming in from the High Court End to Virat Kohli is indeed a tempting thought.

Carnival of Eden

More than 60,000 fans were at Eden Gardens on Friday during the twilight period as the stands at the iconic venue were packed to the rafters to witness the historic event.

The mood at the ground through the day was one of festive spirit with a lot colour and humour.

While Ishant Sharma received thunderous applause for his five-wicket haul, for the people of Kolkata the man of the match on the opening day of the India-Bangladesh Test had to be the Prince of Kolkata. Ganguly, who pulled of the marketing coup of the year, to get the crowds back for a Test match with a string of initiatives that drew a full house at Eden Gardens.

Chants of ‘dada-dada’ reverberated around the ground for as did ‘Sachin-Sachin’ during the break. Indian cricket legends including Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble revisited their glorious on-field moments at the Eden Gardens.

Indian cricket legends VVS Laxman, Hardbhajan Singh, Anil Kumble and Sachin Tendulkar during a chat show. (Twitter)

Apart from the cricketing legends, India’s sporting heroes PV Sindhu, Mary Kom, Sania Mirza, Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami among others were also felicitated after the end of the 1st day’s play in Kolkata.

India, leading 1-0 in the two-match series, used fast and aggressive bowling in the first pink-ball test for either team to dismiss the tourists for 106 in 30.3 overs, with paceman Mohammad Shami hitting Liton Das and Nayeem Hasan on the head with deliveries.

Virat Kohli was unbeaten on 59 as India reached stumps at 174-3 in the first day-night test in the country, with a lead of 68 runs. Ajinkya Rahane was 23 not out, with the pair sharing 37 runs for the fourth wicket.

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