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India will play its first Day-Night Test against Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens

India will play its first Day-Night Test against Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens

Bangladesh Cricket Board has accepted India’s proposal of playing the second Test in Kolkata as a day-night affair. Eden Gardens will become the first venue in India to host a pink-ball cricket match.

Under the leadership of the new head, Sourav Ganguly, the BCCI had proposed the BCB to play the Kolkata Test with pink-ball and also stated that he had discussed it at length with the national side and that skipper Virat Kohli was in agreement. The BCB took time deciding on their decision with regards to the invitation, and after confirming it with the players and management including head coach Domingo Russell gave the nod to BCCI.

“This is the beginning of something special in Indian cricket,” Ganguly said. “It is a priority for the newly elected Office Bearers and members of Apex Council to take Indian cricket forward. For me, as former Captain of India and as the current President of BCCI, Test cricket is of utmost priority and we at BCCI will leave no stone unturned to bring this format back to its feet.

“In this effort of ours, Day-Night Test cricket is a huge step forward and we believe it will bring back the crowd into stadiums and a whole lot of young children to the sport. I am extremely honored that the Eden Gardens will host the inaugural Day-Night Test match and the Cricket Association of Bengal will create a spectacle for everyone to watch. I thank the Bangladesh Cricket Board President Mr. Nazmul Hassan and his team for accepting our request on such short notice. I also thank India Captain Mr. ViratKohli for his co-operation,” he added.

Neither of the two neighboring countries has played pink-ball cricket yet since the concept saw fruition in November 2015. Green-lighting the game, Bangladesh head coach Russell Domingo said his players, all of whom were consulted, were excited at the prospect of playing the top-ranked team in such a novel game at an iconic venue.

“As the coach and some of the players and all the other senior players, we think that it’s a great opportunity,” Domingo said on Tuesday (October 29). “I don’t think India have played a pink-ball Test before. We haven’t played a pink-ball Test. It’s a massive occasion at the Eden Gardens.

“It will be a new experience for both the teams. So we are very excited about it. It will be a great occasion under the lights against one of the best teams in the world, probably the best team in the world also. So we are looking forward to the challenge.”

India’s current stance of working on the idea of a day-night Test match is a departure from the previous philosophy of the board who were generally a skeptic of the concept. Cricket Australia had put forth the proposal to play a Day-Night Test match in Adelaide during the 2018-19 tour, but the board had turned it down citing the lack of practice and acclimatizing to conditions.

Ironically, pink-ball cricket had made its debut in India at the Eden Gardens in 2016 during the Cricket Association of Bengal’s Super League final of 2016. The BCCI also said no to the proposal of playing the Duleep Trophy competition as a pink-ball tournament at the start of 2016 but had a keen eye on soon playing a day-night Test in India eventually. The primary concerns were because of the lack of spin and reverse swing on offer with the pink-ball.

Coincidentally, Bangladesh to has held that skepticism, turning down New Zealand’s proposal last year due to lack of match preparation. Incidentally, both India and Bangladesh will have just two days of preparation between the Indore and the Kolkata Tests to acclimatize against the pink ball.

“I have spoken to the players. For sure there have been some concerns,” Domingo said. “Some guys said it will be just a few days [of] preparations. There are only two days between the first and second Tests… In my time with South Africa, we played a pink-ball Test in Adelaide with Australia. We had a warm-up game before. We had a few sessions. So it will be less time to start. I have worked with pink-ball and hope it will be an advantage for us.

“There is a travel day and two practice days. And that’s all at the moment. During that time there will be some pink-ball preparation. But our focus will be the first Test first. Once that is completed, we will prepare for the pink balls. There are some challenges but it is the same for India. They haven’t played a day-night Test match. So it will be the same for both the teams. Not a lot of preparation time but [it is] an exciting event. Because of the pink-ball, it may help both the teams a little bit close together and we are excited about the opportunity,” he added.

Bangladesh begins its India tour with the three T20Is, starting on November 3, before heading to Indore to kick off its World Test Championship campaign from November 14. The timings of the second Test at Eden Gardens from November 22, will now be tweaked for a slightly late start in order to play the final session under lights.