Ind Vs SL 2nd Test: The Pink Ball Blues Or The Pitch As 16 Wickets Fall On 1st Day?

Source: BCCI

As many as 16 wickets fell on the very first day of the Second and last Test match, a day-n-night pink ball affair, between India and Sri Lanka at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru today. Pink ball test matches have been a very recent addition to the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Test Championship (WTC) schedules and this is perhaps only the third match played in India so far. India demolished Bangladesh in the first ever Pink-ball test in Kolkata and then England in the second pink-ball Ahmedabad match. Normally the pink ball is associated with more swing, particularly in the twilight period when the lights come on, even though this is still not a proven fact. In this particular match more than the pink ball blues the pitch seems to have played a far pivotal role. The pitch has proved to be a turning one from day 1 combined uneven and variable bounce which helped both the seamers and the spinners. The way the wickets fell in heaps on the very first day the match could very well be over in two days in which case the curator may have to face the ICC probe.

 

India won the toss and obviously elected to bat first. The Indian batsmen seemed to have sensed the nature of the pitch and accordingly decided to make hay as long as the pitch shines, attacking the bowlers in the short-format style with opener getting runout in the very second over. Captain Rohit Sharma tried to blast his way out, but was cut short by Embuldeniya for 15 runs. Kohli (23) and Hanuma Vihari (31) then adopted the sheet-anchor roles, but could not save their wickets for long. India were reduced to 86/4 and then to 148/6. Shreyas Iyer, surprisingly coming after Pant, played a terrific innings of 92 runs thus restoring India to a respectable total of 252 all out in just the 60th over which could very well be a winning one proving the Indian batting tactics right.

 

Given the nature of the pitch the Sri Lanka bowlers failed to take advantage of the conditions, particularly the fast bowlers, Lakmal and Fernando, with only the former managing to take a wicket. The spinning trio of Embuldeniya, Jayawickrama and Dhananjaya de Silva captured 8 wickets between them. As India got all out just before the dinner break the Sri Lanka batsmen had the arduous task ahead of facing the Indian seamers under the lights.

 

And yes, Bumrah and Shami proved lethal for them making the ball swing both ways and took 5 wickets between them, Bumrah taking 3 scalps. Axar Patel, replacing Jayant Yadav after a long rehab break, took the 6th wicket. Sri Lanka were precariously placed at 86/6 at stumps with only Angelo Mathews (43) providing some resistance. If the Indian spinning trio of Ashwin, Axar and Jadeja along with Bumrah and Shami have their ways on an already deteriorating pitch we might see a very dramatically eventful second day tomorrow.

 

Since this two-match Test Series is part of the WTC schedule India’s probable 2-0 sweep over Sri Lanka would improve their ranking significantly.

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