Almost four years after the first day-night Test was played between Australia and New Zealand at Adelaide, India prepare for their first such experience against Bangladesh, who too are diving into unknown territory from November 22 at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
Which only leaves Ireland and Afghanistan with the Test rights from any day-night experience in the longest format.
No doubt Sourav Ganguly is the man behind the relatively novel idea being implemented after years of hesitation from the BCCI establishments. But the tendentious questions right now are: has he been hasty in organising the 12th day-nighter in the history of the game? Should he have waited longer in order to give the Indian players more time to get familiar with the pink ball under lights?
Ganguly assumed office as the new BCCI president on October 23 and the confirmation on the day-nighter came on October 29, leaving a little over just three weeks for both sides to prepare - mind you three T20s and a red-ball Test to deal with first.
Maybe the next Test series should have been eyed for the purpose. There are not many players in this Indian team who have much experience of the pink ball under lights. Only Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Kuldeep Yadav and Rohit Sharma can claim to some real, noteworthy experience having played the pink ball in the 2016-17 Duleep Trophy under floodlights.
The first ever day-night Test that was played between Australia and New Zealand in November 2015 was actually scheduled in June early that year. Another big Test team, England that played its first day-night Test in August 2017 against the West Indies had actually got it scheduled in October 2016. Notice the amount of time these teams had to prepare before they took the big step!
South Africa too knew about their first day-night Test months in advance before taking the field against Australia at Adelaide in November 2016. Along the same lines, Pakistan had it all planned two months beforehand: Dubai hosted the Caribbean team in October 2016. Even Sri Lanka were in the know more than a month before they played Pakistan in October 2017.
Day/Night Results so far:
|Date||Home Team||Away Team||Venue||Result|
|27 Nov- 01 Dec, 2015|
(224 & 187/7)
|New Zealand (202 & 208)||Adelaide||Australia by 3 wickets|
|13-17 Oct, 2016||Pakistan (579/3d & 123)|
(357 & 289)
|Dubai||Pakistan by 56 runs|
|24-28 Nov, 2016||Australia (383 & 127/3)||South Africa (259/9d & 250)||Adelaide||Australia by 7 wickets|
|15-19 Dec, 2016||Australia (429 & 202/5d)||Pakistan (142 & 450)||Brisbane||Australia by 39 runs|
|17-21 Aug, 2017||England (514/8d)|
(168 & 137)
|Edgbaston||England by innings & 209 runs|
|6-10 Oct, 2017|
(262 & 248)
|Sri Lanka (482 & 96)||Dubai||Sri Lanka by 68 runs|
|2-6 Dec, 2017||Australia (442/8d & 138)||England (227 & 233)||Adelaide||Australia by 120 runs|
|26-29 Dec, 2017||South Africa (309/9d)||Zimbabwe (68 &121)||Port Elizabeth||South Africa by innings & 120 runs|
|22-26 March, 2018||New Zealand (427/8d)|
(58 & 320)
|Eden Park||New Zealand by innings & 49 runs|
|23-27 June 2018||West Indies (204 & 93)||Sri Lanka (154 & 144/6)||Bridgetown||Sri Lanka by 4 wickets|
|24-28 Jan, 2019||Australia (323)||Sri Lanka (144 & 139)||Brisbane||Australia by innings & 40 runs|
“What we found out after the practice session was that the (new) pink ball does a lot more than the red ball. You have to play slightly late and close to your body. We had a word with Rahul bhai (Rahul Dravid) as he was also there,” vice captain Ajinkya Rahane told reporters after practising with the pink ball recently.
The above-mentioned season of the Duleep Trophy used the Australia-made Kookaburra balls, however, the Eden Gardens will see the use of the homemade SG balls. That’s another concern going into the game.
“I think they played with the Kookaburra ball in Duleep trophy, that’s a different thing. With the SG ball, I am not so sure. We played against spinners in Bangalore and they were getting good revs (revolutions) on the ball. Yes, the shine is completely different to the red ball but it’s very hard to compared with SG ball and the Kookaburra ball,” Rahane responded to a question regarding the possible ineffectiveness of spinners bowling with the pink ball.
Pujara, highest scorer in the Duleep Trophy that season, shared his observations too. “Visibility is not an issue during the day, it will be an issue in twilight and under lights, the twilight could be a little difficult. Those sessions will be crucial. Most players have said that picking the wrist-spinners’ wrong‘un is a little difficult,” he said.
One can see there are issues to address and it would have been better if the players had more time to confront these.