INDIA VS BANGLADESH, 2nd TEST
Eden Gardens will be hosting India and Bangladesh’s first ever pink-ball Test © Getty
When you wade past hundreds of fans lining up outside the main gate of the Eden Gardens and walk in, you run into one half of the Pinku-Tinku mascot combo. Never before has something like this happened at the Eden. There’s a pink blimp high in the sky – visible from miles away, there are gorgeous cricket murals adorning the walls around the stadium, and the lights in the Jagmohan Dalmiya and Sourav Ganguly stands have a pink hue to it. And the grandeur of it all doesn’t end there.
Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee will ring the bell before the start of play, while paratroopers – yes, you read that right – will fly in to deliver the pink balls to the two captains at the start.
Day- Night Test is finally in India, and Sourav Ganguly & Co. have spared no expense or idea to create a stirring buzz. There’s been instant gratification for all the efforts too, in the form of rapid ticket sales that has seen the first four days of the Test being sold out already.
November 2013 was also evidence that Eden and Kolkata are never shy of a celebration. Sachin Tendulkar arrived for his 199 th Test match with his cut-outs all over the city, stepped off the team bus to a confetti shower and walked into the stadium with songs about him playing out loud. His face was emblemised on one side of the toss coin too. That was peak Kolkata at its celebratory best, where the lines between indulgence and overindulgence were blurred.
And then there is now. A city happy to embrace the pink – as seen from the Howrah bridge and a few prominent buildings near the stadium – while the teams themselves are yet to fully grasp the functionalities of the new color of the ball. As late as the eve of the fixture, Virat Kohli admitted there were still gray areas with respect to how the ball would behave under different circumstances andhow much of a challengeit was going to be.
The quick turnaround time between the newly-appointed BCCI president Sourav Ganguly suggesting the need to play a Day-Night fixture and the board actually hosting one was surprisingly short, given India’s reluctance to play it in Australia in late 2018. But Kohli had a defense to offer, believing it’s the sort of a concept that first needs to be trialled at home, before the team can take the plunge on away shores.
So that trial is here, to make way for a future where India will approve of such challenges more often, and not just in their own backyard. And beyond all the fanfare in Kolkata and the fact that both teams will begin with a blank slate in the face of something they’ve not experienced before, India are still primed to pocket all 60 points on offer.
When: India vs Bangladesh, 2nd Test, November 22 – 26, 2019, 1: 00 PM IST
Where: Eden Gardens, Kolkata
What to expect: A lot of uncertainty. There’s a healthy grass cover on the pitch that will aide the quicks. Kohli believes the pink ball has been traveling a lot quicker than anticipated, making catches difficult to take. There’s also the issue of dew that could cripple the bowling side under lights. The weather is expected to be clear throughout, though.
Meanwhile, unlike other D / N Tests, the Kolkata game will have a more conventional order of breaks viz. Lunch (15: 00 to 15: 40 followed by Tea (17: 40 to (****************************************************: 00)
Kuldeep Yadav has been in the midst of a lot of pink ball practice – including during session breaks in Indore – but it is unlikely that India will tamper with the line-up that wrapped up the first Test in two and a half days.
Probable XI: Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma
An injury to young Saif Hassan means Imrul Kayes gets another go at the top of the order. The big dilemma for Bangladesh however is whether they need to drop the extra batsman and play a third pacer. The thought behind playing a 7-4 combination in Indore was to be able to put up a fight against a strong Indian bowling attack, but that didn’t materialize.
Bringing in Al-Amin Hossain or Mustafizur Rahman for Mohammad Mithun could be a good move considering the quicks are going to be ones making headlines in this pink-ball Test. Benching Mithun will also allow Bangladesh to play senior batsman Mushfiqur Rahim at No.4, which has been mulled over since the Indore Test.
Bangladesh could also consider bringing in both – Al-Amin and Mustafizur – by benching Ebadat Hossain (along with Mithun), who didn’t quite impress alongside Abu Jayed in Indore.
Probable XI: Imrul Kayes, Shadman Islam, Mominul Haque, Mohammad Mithun / Mustafizur Rahman, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Liton Das, Mehidy Hasan, Taijul Islam, Abu Jayed, Ebadat Hossain / Al-Amin Hossain
What they said:
“It’s a nice occasion. We were already excited about this Test. Like I said, it’s a challenge for us. I think before this, we had this much excitement and buzz in Eden when we played against Pakistan in the T 20 World Cup [in 2016]. Even then there had been big names and there was a felicitation ceremony and there was a packed stadium. So I think it’ll be that kind of atmosphere. It can be daunting or intimidating, but it’s also very exciting. ” –Virat Kohli.
“It could almost have a T 20 or a one-day atmosphere.There will be a big crowd and Indian players are so recognised wherever they go. So Kohli walking out to bat will feel like a T 20 .If those guys get going, there will be an atmosphere that probably no player has played in Test match conditions “-Daniel Vettori.