Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team are gearing up for their first-ever overseas Day/Night Test with the match against Australia at the Adelaide Oval on December 17. Australia have played seven Pink Ball Tests and have not lost once. India played a Pink Ball Test against Bangladesh in 2019 at the Eden Gardens and they emerged victorious. However, the scenario in Australia will be different. This is the first time India are playing the Pink Ball with the Kookaburra while the previous Day-Night game was with the SG Ball. India did have a warm-up game with the Pink Ball against Australia A at the Sydney Cricket Ground and speaking ahead of the first Test in Adelaide, India cricket team vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane said the Pink Ball is a peculiar challenge for batsmen for this main reason.
“Pink Ball behaves differently in the day and in the night. The Twilight period is challenging for batsmen. When the lights come on, the pace increases off the wicket. With the red ball, the pace does not change. Batting well in that period which is 40-50 minutes is the key,” Ajinkya Rahane said.
This is the first time that India will start the tour of Australia with the Pink Ball and although they started the first Test of 2018 at the same venue, it was played with the red ball and India won the match by 31 runs. That win set the tone for the series in which India won 2-1 and following wins in the ODIs and T20Is in 2020, Virat Kohli became the second captain after South Africa’s Faf du Plessis to win all series as captain in Australia.
Reason for the success
Ajinkya Rahane believes that India’s success in Australia in the last 3-4 years has been due to the ability of the batsmen to play short-pitched bowling well, unlike previous Indian teams. Rahane quickly brushed off the suggestion that Australia’s wickets had become featherbeds and great for batting.
“We are playing the short ball well. When you see in 2018/19, the Adelaide wicket was challenging. Perth and Melbourne was challenging. As.a batsman, we can adapt well. The thinking should be to play well in that situation. If you get one or two partnerships of over 100, then it is good,” Rahane said.
Ajinkya Rahane admitted that India will miss the services of Ishant Sharma, who formed a deadly duo with Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami on the previous tour of 2018/19. However, Rahane stressed that the bowling depth of the Indian cricket team is superb. “We have a very stong attack. We will miss Ishant. The guys who are here, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, along with Bumrah and Shami are experienced and they know how to bowl in these conditions. This is a new series. We have the attack to take 20 wickets,” Rahane said.