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Ball holds up perfectly on Day 1 of first pink ball match in India, Mohammed Shami invites fine with BCCI code violation

Observations and report from the first day and night of pink ball cricket in India

A moment during the CAB Super League final between Mohun Bagan and Bhowanipore

History was created at the Eden Gardens on Saturday when Ravikant Singh of Bhowanipore bowled the first ball of the match to Jayojit Basu of Mohun Bagan in the CAB Super League final – the first ever pink ball day/night first division match on Indian soil was flagged off. Mohun Bagan have finished Day 1 of the match at 278/8, and will be happy with the score after having capitulated to an early collapse in the first session.

There have been a lot of concerns from various quarters surrounding how this novelty will be played out, but most doubts as to how the pink ball will behave have been laid to rest. Contrasting with what had been feared, the pink ball does not show any excessive wear at all, and lasts as long as the red ball. The ball, however, did not spin much, the players and the umpires agreed. How it behaves in the next few days will be kept a close watch on.

There was a lot of swing on offer for the bowlers, and the batsmen initially had trouble dealing with it. However, the question of visibility under lights was also put to rest, as Mohun Bagan enjoyed a much better time with the bat as the natural light faded and the floodlights took over.

However, conditions were mostly overcast on Saturday, and it will be interesting to see how the ball behaves on clearer days. It was interesting to note that fast bowler Geet Puri said that the ball feels lighter in his hand and that it offers him more control as well.

Bowlers make merry in first session

Batsmen were seen being tentative in their technique at the very beginning in the match. Even the veteran Wriddhiman Saha was seen standing well in front of his batting crease in an attempt to negate late swing.

Bhowanipore pace duo Ravikant Singh and Geet Puri reduced Mohun Bagan to 52/4 in the second session before Wriddhiman Saha (34 off 78 balls) and Anustup Majumdar (83 off 132 balls) combined to form a consolidating partnership. There was a bigger blow in wait for Bhowanipore, however, as the lanky Puri twisted his ankle while fielding and had to go off.

Anustup’s innings was cut short by an unfortunate run out, but Sanjib Sanyal (53* off 79 balls) and Mohammed Shami (36 off 36 balls) capitalised on the tired Bhowanipore bowling attack to form a short but effective 8th wicket partnership late in the evening.

Shami’s daring

Shami’s cavalier innings has taken his team within touching distance of 300, but that was not the only cavalier thing that he had done. By sporting BCCI’s logo on his helmet, he was violating the code set upon players by the cricket board.

A BCCI ruling from December 2014 had stipulated that players would not be allowed to wear the board logo on their gear in any domestic match. If the player needs to inadvertently wear the part of the gear which has the logo of the national board, then he needs to tape it while playing for a club side.

The logic behind this ruling is to stop players who have represented the country from attaining a superior status in his club side. It is to be seen what punishment is handed out to Shami, but there can be no doubt that more important questions remain to be answered from this historic ‘pink weekend’.

Brief Scores – MB 278/8 in 85.3 overs (Anustup 83, Sanjib 53*; Ravikant 3/46, Puri 2/19) at end of Day 1

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