Pink ball causes havoc in the afternoon session at the Eden Gardens; Mohammed Shami breathes fire
All eyes are on the Eden Gardens in Kolkata where the first ever pink ball first division match is underway between Bhowanipore and Mohun Bagan, and by the look of things from the afternoon session of the second day of play, bowlers have a lot to look forward to from this novelty. 7 wickets fell in the first half of the first session, as Bhowanipore were made to look down the barrel at 45/7.
Five batsmen were knocked over for ducks with the new ball. As the ball wore off after the first 15 overs, things calmed down more, and Bhowanipore trudged to 83/7 at the end of the session courtesy of a partnership between Uddipan Mukherjee (28*) and Sujit Kumar Yadav (23*).
Geet Puri and Ravikant Singh were impressive for Bhowanipore with the new ball, but Mohammed Shami was always going to be the star of the show. People flocked to the ground in numbers to witness the CAB Super League final on Sunday, but a lot of them had come to watch the sight of Shami steaming in with the pink ball.
After Mohun Bagan’s innings folded for 299, it was time for Shami to start their bowling innings. Shami’s first over was an eventful over, but it lacked rhythm. It had two no balls, one wicket, and three balls which were too fast for the batsman and thudded into his pads.
Shami’s bowling partner at the other end, Sanjib Sanyal, who had also scored a valuable 60, was also impressive with the new ball. He lacked the pace of Shami, but landed the ball in perfect areas. His first over would have produced a wicket too, but a catch was dropped at second slip.
Shami’s second wicket came in a remarkable over as well. In only his third over, Shami was seen clutching his knees and showing signs of dizziness. It was a hot day, and Shami has not played a match in the longer format for a while.
Wanting to finish off his spell with some extra pace and bounce, Shami charged in to finish off his over. He bowled a no ball again, and then he got Parthasarathi Bhattacharjee to edge to slip. He signalled to the dressing room while celebrating, and went off the pitch with an ice pack without completing the over.
Bhowanipore batsmen were all at sea against the pace duo of Shami and Sanyal, fending for their lives and their technique coming up short against a moving and bouncing ball. One thing that the pace duo did differently from the Bhowanipore bowlers was that they were not hesitating to pump in short balls. This was proving effective probably because of the amount of grass on the pitch, more than the nature of the ball.
Shami came back on later and finished the session with three wickets from 9.5 overs. Sanjib Sanyal had two wickets to his name, and Sourav Mondal took two as well. No spinners were bowled in the afternoon session.
Within the first hundred minutes of the Bhowanipore innings, seven wickets had fallen, five among them for ducks, and 45 runs had been scored. Mukherjee and Yadav seemed to be more comfortable as the ball wore down, adding 38 runs before the end of the session. They trail Mohun Bagan’s score by 216 runs, and will be looking to stave off the follow-on.