India vs England Pink Ball Test: Preview

Pink Ball Test

The third Pink Ball Test of England tour of India 2020-21 is slated to begin on the 24th of March 2021 at Motera Stadium, Ahmedabad. This is a historic match given that it is only the second time that a pink ball day-night Test is being played at home by India.

The first two tests of the Anthony de Mello Trophy was played at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, the Motera Stadium will host the last two tests of the four-match test series between two prominent rivals of world cricket. The Motera Stadium, officially known as the Sardar Patel Gujarat Stadium is the biggest cricket stadium with a capacity of 110,000. It will also be the first time that a cricket match will be played at the Motera Stadium.

However, due to COVID-19 related concerns, the capacity has been reduced to 50 percent. All tickets have been sold out given that this will be the first match being held in the city since 2014. This will be the first time that India and England will play against each other in a pink ball test match.

Pink ball test records

Given the relatively new introduction of the pink ball in test cricket, neither of the teams have played a lot of matches with the pink ball. England has played a total of three matches while India has played two. England has won one of those matches and lost the other two to Australia and New Zealand on foreign soil.

The first pink ball test that England had played was against visitors West Indies, which it had won by an innings and 209 runs. The last two day night tests it had played against Australia and New Zealand both resulted in losses. The Lions lost to Australia by 120 runs and to New Zealand by innings and 49 runs.

India on the other hand has a mixed record, having won and lost one match each. The first-day night test was against Bangladesh, in which they won by an innings and 46 runs. The second pink ball test was played in 2020 against Australia during India’s tour Down Under 2020-21. India lost by eight wickets in this match.

Pitch news

Day-night tests are conventionally known for assisting pace bowlers. In fact, in the last pink ball test India played at home against Bangladesh, its pacers had picked up all the 20 wickets. A recent report had even suggested the eagerness of the English pace bowlers to play in this match given the records of fast bowlers in pink ball tests.

England boasts of a formidable battery of pace bowlers with the likes of veterans like James Anderson and Stuart Broad. However, as per the recent reports, the pitch might assist spinners. There are less chances of the pitch featuring a 6 mm grass cover, which is essential to preserve the lacquer of the pink ball for a long period of time. Spinners like Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel will be looking forward to cash in on the pitch.

Pink ball

The pink ball is known for being difficult to pick its seam. The SG pink ball will be used, as it is easier to sight than the Kookaburra ball. It is hand-stitched with black thread with a  Due to the lack of the 6 mm grass cover and the banning of saliva due to the pandemic, the ball is expected to lose its shine quickly and start reverse swinging earlier than expected. However, cricketers like Cheteshwar Pujara have expressed their doubts regarding how much the ball will actually swing. Most of the chances that it will be a turning track that is likely to aid spinners.  

Conclusion

This will decide who shall qualify for the inaugural version of the World Test Championship 2020-21. India cannot afford to lose any of the remaining two tests in order to qualify for the Test Championship final that is slated to be held in June this year in Lords.

The hosts will be looking to cash in on their home advantage in this match. To add to this is the pitch prediction, which claims that it will be a turning track. Having boasted of a strong spinning attack conventionally, India will be looking forward to dominating the match. The British, who have lost the last match will also be looking to bounce back. It promises to be a good match that will entertain the viewers to the maximum.