Five years after the start of the Pink Ball Test, India and Bangladesh are all set to join the club of nations who have played the Day Night Test. Over 50,000 fans are expected to attend the match which will be played at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on November 22. Before the start of the Test, preparations are under way at the Eden Gardens and this is the reason why the Indian cricket team and the Bangladesh cricket team continued to practice with the Pink Ball during the Indore Test. However, why is the Pink Ball Test so historic? Perhaps, it is the fact that this match will be played other than a white or red ball in cricket. Ahead of the Test match in Kolkata, here are some of the facts associated with the Day Night Test.
When was the Pink Ball Test conceptualised?
A push for day-night cricket was started in 2008, with Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland at the helm. In that period, crowds, television audiences and revenues were steadily declining. Sutherland wanted Tests to be played in a time slot more accessible to more people, and so experiments began again on a day-night ball.
Why is the Day Night Test being played with the Pink Ball and not with any other colour?
Initially, manufacturers tried optic yellow and bright orange, which were easy to spot on the grass and by fielders taking high catches, but the batsmen said it merged with brownish patches on the pitch. The pink ball has a pigment finish and is sprayed with a thick coat of colour so that it sparkles all night. This makes it easy for fielders, batsmen, fans in the stands and those watching the game on TV to spot.
Is this a first time a First Class or Test match will be played in India?
Many people will be tempted to say that this will be the first time a Day-Night Test match will be played in India. However, this is not the first time that a day-night first class match will be played in India. In 1997, during the Ranji Trophy final between Mumbai and Delhi in Gwalior, the match was a day-night affair but a white ball was used. During the 2016 Duleep Trophy, teams played the tournament with a pink ball.
Why have Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara said that dew and twilight will be a major factor?
The conventional red Test ball is dipped in grease so that water doesn’t seep into the leather. However, this can't be done with the pink ball since grease would dull the fluorescent pink, affecting the visibility of the ball under lights. Thus, dew will play a major factor. When the sun hasn't fully set and the floodlights are partially switched on, the mix of natural and artificial light makes it difficult for batsmen to spot the pink ball. Add the low night temperature and moisture in the air, the pink ball will swing a lot more under lights.
How many Pink Ball Test have been played so far since 2015?
The India vs Bangladesh Test in Eden Gardens will be the 15th Pink Ball Test. It will be the first time that a Day Night Test will be played in the subcontinent while it is the second in Asia. India and Bangladesh will complete the list of the original Test nations who have played the Pink Ball Test. All 14 matches have produced a result, with Australia winning all four games. How many venues have hosted the Pink Ball Test? Adelaide in Australia is considered the venue for the Pink Ball Test and they have hosted three games against New Zealand, South Africa and England. The Gabba in Brisbane has also hosted Pink Ball Tests against Pakistan and Sri Lanka. In Brisbane, Pakistan almost chased down 490 but they were all out for 450.
Pakistan and West Indies were the first nations to play the Pink Ball Test in Asia in Dubai in 2016. The match was famous for Azhar Ali becoming the first triple centurion in Day Night Tests and Devendra Bishoo's haul of 8/49. Auckland hosted New Zealand's first Day Night Test at home and they bowled England out for 58, reducing them to 27/9 at one stage. The first Pink Ball Test in England was played against West Indies in Edgbaston and Alastair Cook's 243 helped England inflict an innings win.
West Indies played their first Pink Ball Test at home against Sri Lanka in Bridgetown, Barbados but Sri Lanka created history by becoming the first Asian nation to win in Barbados. Even Zimbabwe have played a Pink Ball Test but it was a four-day game and 98 overs were bowled every day in Port Elizabeth. However, South Africa needed just two days to wrap up an innings and 120-run win.
Are More Day Night Matches Scheduled In the Future?
With India jumping on board for Pink Ball Tests, there is a possibility that more Day Night Tests will be played. After the India vs Bangladesh Test, Australia will host Pakistan in Adelaide for the annual Pink Ball Test while New Zealand will play their second Day Night Test in Australia at the New Perth stadium in December. There is hope that India might play a Day-Night Test in New Zealand as the timing will be suitable for Indian audiences.