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Mohammed Shami picks up first fifer with pink ball in India, gives resounding approval

Shami spoke highly of the advantages bowlers had with the new ball and stressed that it would make the game more even

Mohammed Shami interacted with the 5,000 strong crowd that came to the Eden Gardens on Sunday

Mohammed Shami has given a resounding approval to the pink ball, which has been tipped to change the way cricket has been played for the last century and a half. The star of the show at the ongoing CAB Super League final, Shami is one of the two Indian players getting a first-hand experience of the novel experiment.

With both his deeds and his words, Shami proved that the pink ball is here to stay, and that it will make cricket a lot more interesting. More than 5,000 people had come to Eden Gardens on Sunday to witness Shami steaming in with the new pink ball, and he did not disappoint.

Bhowanipore batsmen found themselves at sea in front of Shami’s pace and bounce, as the ball swung around like nobody’s business. In his very first over, Shami bowled two no-balls, took one wicket, and got three balls to zip past the bat and thud into the pads.

Shami finished the first innings with figures of 5/42, the first five-wicket haul with the pink ball in the longer format on Indian soil. He led Mohun Bagan off the field, as they were denied a chance to enforce the follow-on because of penalty runs imposed for slow over rate.

After the day’s play, Shami said, "It's very bright and glows like radium. With red or white balls, there was some visibility problem as it took the colour of grass. Definitely I will prefer this ball, this is much better. The biggest plus point is that it swings under lights, what else does a bowler want!"

Shami spoke highly of the advantages bowlers had with the new ball and stressed that it would make the game more even. "There was a bit of moisture in the afternoon so it helped initially. But under lights, there was more movement undoubtedly. It's challenging for both batsmen and bowlers."

There has been some concerns that the pink ball does not facilitate reverse swing, but Shami seemed to indicate that the ball will offer reverse swing if the bowler knows how to effect it. Bhowanipore bowlers had indicated after the first day that it was being difficult to effect reverse swing, but Shami said that he could go about it just fine.

"The ball retains its colour and shine. If we can maintain the dryness, I'm sure it will reverse. It did, I noticed."

Shami’s Mohun Bagan teammate Wriddhiman Saha, who fell for a golden duck in the second innings, said the pink ball was swinging consistently. “Every ball is swinging which was not the case with the red Kookaburra.

“The visibility is perfect. The red and white balls pick up the colour of the grass after becoming older. But here there is no difficulty in picking the ball,” said Saha.

Mohun Bagan will resume batting on Day 3 with a lead of 296 runs over Bhowanipore, with Arindam Ghosh and Anustup Majumdar at the crease.

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