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India finally join the pink-ball party in Bangladesh series

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By Reuters

By Amlan Chakraborty

NEWDELHI (Reuters) – India play their first day-night test as part of a two-match series against Bangladesh this month and while there may be some apprehension about using the pink ball for the first time they are unlikely to lose any sleep about facing a team in disarray.

Bangladesh were forced into a leadership change on the eve of their tour of India after captain Shakib Al Hasan was banned for breaching the International Cricket Council’s Anti-Corruption code.

Their Twenty20 team under Mahmudullah began brightly but could not deny India a 2-1 series victory despite the absence of the resting Virat Kohli.

The task, as newly-installed test captain Mominul Haque is likely to find out, will be significantly tougher in the test series, which gets underway in Indore on Thursday.

India have won all five tests since the World Test Championship kicked in, including a 3-0 whitewash against South Africa last month to record their 11th consecutive test series victory at home.

In addition to Shakib, Bangladesh are also without opener Tamim Iqbal, who has opted out of the tour to be with his pregnant wife, and all-rounder Mohammad Saifuddin, who is nursing a back injury.

India are without Jasprit Bumrah, who is recovering from a lower back stress fracture, but fellow quicks Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav ensured the pace spearhead was not missed against South Africa.

Rohit Sharma’s seamless transformation into a test opener after years of struggles in India’s crowded middle order appears to have ended the only uncertainty in India’s compact batting lineup.

The limited-overs stalwart, playing his first series as a test opener against South Africa, walked away with the man-of-the-series award for his three 100-plus knocks in four innings, including a maiden double century.

The elegant right-hander, who led India in the Twenty20 series, faces a fresh challenge in the series which includes the first day-night test for both sides in Kolkata from Nov. 22.

Rohit is one of the few players from either side with at least some experience of the pink ball to be used for the day-night test.

“I’ve played only one pink-ball game in the Duleep Trophy … but I batted at number six then and now I’ll be opening,” Rohit told Reuters in a recent interview, adding he was more excited than apprehensive about the experience.

“Obviously we need a lot of more experience with that ball, but it’s a great time for us to play a day-night test.”

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)