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Kohli open to pink-ball test in Australia with proper planning

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By Reuters
Kohli open to pink-ball test in Australia with proper planning
FILE PHOTO: Cricket - ICC Cricket World Cup Semi Final - India Press Conference - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - July 8, 2019 India's Virat Kohli during the press conference Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff   -   Copyright  Jason Cairnduff(Reuters)

By Amlan Chakraborty

KOLKATA, India (Reuters) – India are open to playing a day-night test in Australia next year but there has to be proper planning, skipper Virat Kohli said after his team won their maiden pink-ball test against Bangladesh on Sunday.

India declined Australia’s offer to play a day-night test in Adelaide last year, citing lack of experience, but took a little over two days to clinch their first pink-ball test, thrashing Bangladesh by an innings and 46 runs in Kolkata.

With day-night tests seen as a possible solution to test cricket’s dwindling attendances, Australia are hopeful that India will agree to play one at the Gabba next year.

Kohli, however, said it could not be on short notice.

“There has to be planning for a pink-ball game,” Kohli said, pointing to the struggle of a Bangladesh team whose pink-ball inexperience was laid bare in their comprehensive defeat in Kolkata.

“We played on home conditions. You ask Bangladesh and they’d have liked a practice game before this game.

“Just because we know these conditions and our bowlers are bowling so well, we don’t really feel the challenge…”

“A good practice game before that and enough time to prepare, we’re open to anything. You can’t just play it on a short notice.”

Pink balls are used in all day-night tests for visibility reasons, but behave differently to the red ones, with players having commented that they swing more and do not spin as much.

Kohli smashed 136 before India declared their first innings on 347-9 and his quicks wreaked havoc with the heavily-lacquered ball to rout Bangladesh.

Kohli revealed how they tweaked their approach to the first two sessions after a suggestion from batting great Sachin Tendulkar to overcome the challenge of batting under lights.

“I spoke to him on the evening of the first day and he made a very interesting point — that with the pink ball, you have to treat the second session like the morning session of a normal test when it’s getting darker and the ball starts to swing and seam,” he said.

“So your planning changes, your declaration strategy and timing, everything changes. As a batsman, your setup changes.

“Even if you are set and batting well, as soon as it gets dark and lights are on, you can be in trouble.”

Players from both sides spoke about the challenge of batting under lights and Kohli felt at times, the atmosphere at the heaving Eden Gardens resembled that of a Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 match.

“Under lights, it was a different experience. The first time when I walked out, it felt like an IPL game atmosphere,” he said.

“So you feel like smashing the first ball but then you have to remind yourself that you have to play compact.”

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in Kolkata; Editing by Toby Davis)