'Historic' Pink Ball Test to begin today at Eden Gardens, Sheikh Hasina in Kolkata
Kolkata/IBNS: The much-awaited day-night Pink Ball Test match between India and Bangladesh is all set to begin at the Eden Gardens here on Friday.
This will be the first time the two nations will be playing in pink balls.
The play will begin at 1 pm and is expected to be over by 8 at night with two breaks- lunch and tea- in the middle.
After assuming the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president's post, former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly had urged the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) to play the pink ball Test. The BCB was prompt to accept Ganguly's proposal.
Also Ganguly had also consulted Indian captain Virat Kohli about the Pink Ball Test. Kohli had said yes within a few seconds, Ganguly had told media earlier.
Terming the Test as a "landmark occasion", Kohli at a pre-match press conference on Thursday said, "A lot of excitement is there. The last time such an excitement we have seen at Eden Gardens during the India-Pakistan match (in T20 World Cup)."
"The first one hour will be exciting as it won't be easy for batsmen to play the pink ball. There will be a boost for bowlers. So it will be a landmark occasion," he added.
Like cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, Kohli also believes dew will be a factor in the Pink Ball Test. "Dew is going to be a factor in India particularly in late last session," the Indian skipper said.
(Image Credit: Avishek Mitra/IBNS)
However, Ganguly is not ready to think much about the dew factor as he said, "Dew has always been there. The day's play will be over by 8 pm while a One Day International (ODI) match is played till late night. A T20 match begins at 8 pm only."
Hasina, Mamata, several sportsmen will witness the historic moment. All the members who had played the first India-Bangladesh Test match in early 2000 will be present.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has already arrived in the city to witness the match. Hasina's flight touched the ground at 10:40 this morning.
Ganguly himself was present to welcome the Bangladesh Prime Minister whom he had personally invited to Kolkata.
Along with Hasina, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will also be present at the iconic cricket ground which had witnessed South Africa's return to cricket after a ban in 1991.
Along with Tendulkar, former Indian cricket captain Mohammad Azharuddin, ex-cricketer Venkatesh Prasad, tennis icon Sania Mirza have arrived in Kolkata to be part of the Test.
Reaching Kolkata, Tendulkar said, "I am really excited to come here. I know this is going to be a new leaf in Indian cricket's history. It is a great effort by Sourav and the rest of the BCCI team."
Sania and Prasad both said they are excited to be a part of the history.
All one needs to know about the Test
Hasina and Mamata will walk out to the ground and get introduced to both the playing teams at around 12:20 pm.
The toss with the ceremonial gold coin will take place at 12:30 pm.
Following the toss, the two teams will line up for the national anthem.
At 12:50 pm, Hasina, Mamata, Ganguly and BCB president Nazmul Hasan Papon will ring the Eden bell to mark the commencement of the Test match.
The play will begin at 1 pm.
City goes Pink
Ahead of the Pink Ball Test, several iconic landmarks of the city were lighted in pink.
From Shahid Minar in downtown Kolkata to Clock Tower in Lake Town, all went pink.
The BCCI president himself shared the images on Twitter saying, " Welcome to pink test ..â¦."
Welcome to pink test ..â¦@JayShahâ© @bcci pic.twitter.com/lk9h9AX7Ox— Sourav Ganguly (@SGanguly99) November 21, 2019
Also several sweets shops made sweets in pink and all the images were shared by Ganguly himself.
Well done felu.. pic.twitter.com/KMC9FiHuIi— Sourav Ganguly (@SGanguly99) November 21, 2019
History of Pink Ball Test
The first ever international international Pink Ball Test was played in Adelaide in 2015 between Australia and New Zealand. The low-scoring match had ended with Australia's three-wicket win.
India's first Pink Ball Test was held in 2016 at Eden Gardens only but it was a domestic match between Bhowanipore Club and Mohan Bagan. The match was won by Mohan Bagan. Ganguly was then the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president.