Abhijit Bhattacharya, the umpire at the first-ever pink ball match in the country, has recalled that the ball held its shape quite well and moved very similar to the white ball while it was easily visible under the lights. India will play its first day-night Test on November 22 at the Eden Gardens.
The historical moment is under a week away when India will take to the field to play their maiden day-night Test match. The first time a match was played out with the pink ball in the country was the CAB Super League final back in 2016. Abhijit Bhattacharya, an umpire who officiated the historic encounter between Bhawanipore and Mohan Bagan at the Eden Gardens, shared his experience.
“I went into the game with an open mind,” Bhattacharya told TOI, recalling that sultry day. “For me, it was just about a different colour. How different could it be from the red or white ball?”
Bhattacharya went on to recall that the ball was very different from the conventional red ball as it bounced more while it also travelled better than it. The umpire went on to comment that it behaved much like the white ball.
“I would say that the behaviour of the pink ball was closer to that of the white ball… There wasn’t too much difference,” Bhattacharya opined.
The match was played with the Kookaburra ball, which has a wider and flatter seam than the SG ball. The same ball was used in Duleep Trophy later that season and a few players complained that the seam lost its prominence as the innings progressed. With SG balls set to be used during the day-night Test, that may not happen.
Bhattacharya who witnessed the pink ball over the period of four days from close quarters was quite impressed with its ability to retain its shape as the ball wasn’t changed over the course of the match. The match official also recalled that the players easily sighted the ball under lights and even during the twilight period.
“As there was no marked change in its shape, we didn’t have to change the ball. In fact, it retained quite a bit of its characteristics. There was a fair amount of movement early on, but later it became easy. Mohammed Shami extracted some reverse swing too. The players were sighting the ball better under lights and no one complained of any problem during the twilight zone,” added the umpire.
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