November 22 to 26; 13:00 IST
Eden Gardens, Kolkata
The main picture
The excitement, anticipation and curiosity in the build-up to the first pink-ball Test to be played in India have been palpable. The Indian and Bangladeshi players have made no bones about their feelings. And, for those who proposed the idea to change what was initially scheduled as a traditional Test into a day-night match, the reception from the fans has been great, with the tickets for the first four days of the Test reportedly sold out. This is uncharted territory for a majority of the players involved, and so too for the fans in this part of the world. Whatever the result and whatever course the Test match takes, this promises to be an occasion that won’t be forgotten any soon.
Much of the curiosity has centered around the SG pink ball, the manufacturing process and, most importantly, its characteristics. What we know by now is the extra lacquer on it will aid swing, the pronounced seam is likely to help with movement off the pitch and, therefore, allow the bowlers to pose a constant wicket-taking threat. On the flip side, the visibility of the pink ball during the twilight time of the evening and the possibly adverse effect of dew appear to be the primary challenges that the players must confront. The visibility, in particular, is not just a concern for the batsmen but also the fielders behind the stumps and those fielding in the deep.
While the external elements such as sighting the pink ball and dew have to be dealt with, the focus predominantly is on the core Test match skills: application, discipline and patience. Bangladesh batsmen must tighten up in each of those facets to offer India a sterner challenge after their meek surrender inside three days in Indore. On the bowling front too, Bangladesh must find a way to bowl out India. At least one change in personnel is likely from the first Test, with seamers Mustafizur Rahman or Al-Amin Hossain potentially replacing Taijul Islam in the playing XI for the pink-ball Test.
India are the better team in terms of personnel, but even they must adapt to the dynamics of playing with the pink ball. Their pace attack will enjoy the assistance (pace, bounce and movement) that the Eden Gardens pitch is likely to offer with the grass covering on it and its firmness, and for the batting line-up, it’s a nice challenge to encounter. After rare failures in Indore, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma will be hungry to make their mark in the historic Test.
Eden Gardens pitch report and weather forecast
Since being relaid in 2016, the Eden Gardens pitch has become quicker and tended to offer steep bounce, too, on occasions. In the last Test match played at the venue, between India and Sri Lanka in November 2017, the seamers found plenty of joy with the swing and seam on offer. They finished with a combined 32 wickets between them. And, with the pink ball expected to swing more and the Eden Gardens pitch sporting a fair bit of grass cover on Test match eve, you can expect the seamers to be dominant once again.
The forecast says that each of the five days will be clear and sunny with the temperature hovering in the late-20s (degree Celsius).
The match timings are as follows
First session: 1pm to 3pm
Lunch: 3pm to 3:40pm
Second session: 3:40pm to 5:40pm
Tea break: 5:40pm to 6pm
Third session: 6pm to 8pm (the final session could be extended by 30 minutes to help complete 90 overs)
India vs Bangladesh 2nd Test playing 11
Possible India playing 11: 1 Virat Kohli (c), 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 Mayank Agarwal, 4 Cheteshwar Pujara, 5 Ajinkya Rahane, 6 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Ravichandran Ashwin, 9 Umesh Yadav, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Ishant Sharma
Possible Bangladesh playing 11: 1 Mominul Haque (c), 2 Shadman Islam, 3 Imrul Kayes, 4 Liton Das (wk), 5 Mushfiqur Rahim, 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Mohammad Mithun, 8 Mehidy Hasan, 9 Ebadot Hossain, 10 Abu Jayed, 11 Mustafizur Rahman
A first day-night Test puts India and Bangladesh in fresh territory, and the key to success is adaptability given the possibility of dew and the relative unfamiliarity with the pink ball. That said, the pitch conditions will be perfect for fast bowling and so, the onus is on the seamers and pace bowlers to take advantage of any assistance on offer.
How and where to watch?
The India vs Bangladesh pink-ball Test is being broadcast on the Star Sports Network and streamed live on Hotstar.