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History In Making: Kolkata Shimmers In Pink As India Gears Up For First Day-Night Test

ET Online|
Glittering In Pink
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Glittering In Pink

In what is being considered a landmark occasion, India’s first day-night Test match will be played at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Friday. This is the first time that Team India will play with the pink ball, and to mark the monumental moment, not just Eden but the entire city of Kolkata is decked up in pink.

The Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) tweeted a 17-second video, on Wednesday, showing how the City of Joy is preparing for the big match.

The video shows Eden Gardens stadium and several other landmark spots in the city shimmering in a pink hue.

The new BCCI Chief, Sourav Ganguly, who is the brain behind the first-ever day-night Test, also posted a picture of two skyscrapers shining in pink on his Twitter handle.

Agencies
What To Expect
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What To Expect

The historic match, between India and Bangladesh, will kickstart with Army paratroopers landing in Eden Gardens to hand over a pink ball to each of the two captains, just before the toss.

This will be followed by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (left) and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee (right) ringing the customary Eden Bell.

Agencies
What Are Day-Night Tests?
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What Are Day-Night Tests?

A day-night Test match, as the name suggests, is played either totally, or partially under floodlights (artificial stadium lighting) in the evening or night. The idea behind playing day-night Tests is to increase the footfall at the match, because a large number of cricket enthusiasts watch matches after workhours.

Friday’s Test match is particularly important, and as Virat Kohli calls it, a ‘landmark occasion’, because this is India’s maiden day-night Test match.

The Test match at Eden is coincidentally happening on the one-month anniversary of Ganguly being named BCCI Chief. The Bengal Tiger had given a go-ahead for the idea immediately after being appointed Chief.

Agencies
History Of Day-Night Test Matches
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History Of Day-Night Test Matches

The first day-night Test match was played in 2015 between Australia and West Indies. Since then 11 such matches have been played.

It’s not that India wasn’t invited to participate in the matches in the past. However, India has earlier always refused to participate in the pink-ball Test matches, even on instances when Australia and West Indies offered to host the country.

It was the lack of exposure to the format that has previously led the Indian cricket team to take the decision.

However, as it has been widely reported, skipper Virat Kohli said ‘yes’ to the pink ball experimental format within ‘3 seconds’ when Ganguly pitched the idea to him.

ANI
The Significance Of The Pink Ball
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The Significance Of The Pink Ball

The pink-ball, or ‘pink cherry’ as it is fondly called, is used in day-night Test matches as it has better visibility during the night as compared to the red balls, usually used for Test matches.

The red balls, under yellow floodlights, take a brownish colour which is similar to the colour of the pitch. The pink ball is glossy and shiny in contrast to the matte finish of the red ball.

However, the question remains, why not use white balls that are normally used for T20 and ODI matches. An advantage of using the pink balls is that they deteriorate slowly as compared to the white balls which makes them ideal for day-night Test matches.

Agencies
Major Concerns Around The Pink-Ball
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Major Concerns Around The Pink-Ball

One of the biggest concerns around the pink ball is its longevity. The more pink ball is used, the faster it loses its original colour. The grass acts as a cushion which helps the pink cherry last longer. That’s why Eden was chosen as the venue of the match since the stadium has a good grass cover.

Agencies
Current Challenges
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Current Challenges

The match at Eden will see the sun set at approx. 4 pm IST, owing to the Indian winter. As a result, dew is expected to set in. As captain Kohli said, "There is no way for us to anticipate dew. So, that is a concern and it will be a factor in the last session."

If there’s a lot of dew, gripping the ball may become a major challenge.

Another challenge is the weight of the pink ball. The pink ball feels heavier which makes fielding very difficult. While catching, the ball hits the hands of the fielder harder and more effort is required when the ball is thrown from the boundary.

Agencies
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