The pink ball debuted in India on Saturday with a nothing delivery outside the off- stump which Mohun Bagan and Bengal opener Jayojit Basu let go to the Bhowanipore wicket-keeper Santosh Sabanayakan. The next ball from Ravikant Singh, a sharp in-swinger, beat Basu. By the fourth over, Geet Puri had snared Basu, Sabanayakan taking a simple catch.
“There was a lot of swing. The ball felt much lighter. I really enjoyed bowling with the pink Kookaburra. It had much better control,” said Puri, who also bowled Vivek Singh.
At the tea break, the first scheduled break after a 41-minute rain delay, umpire Abhijit Bhattacharya had pointed out that Bhowanipore skipper Writtick Chatterjee doesn’t spin the ball, but before the night was done, he got a wicket. That happened in the 49th over when Test wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha committed hara-kiri and was caught in the deep. Bhowanipore then had spin from both ends.
Even in the last session, the ball looked shiny. “You can still feel the seam,” said umpire Premdip Chatterjee going into the dinner break. “The ball stayed glossy,” said Anustup Majumdar, who had an 88-run partnership with Saha after Mohun Bagan, asked to bat on a green top, were reduced to 52/4. The grass cover was to protect the ball but given how it stood the test, this could be reviewed going forward.
“Unlike in the red cherry, we can’t keep the shine on one side with the pink ball. I don’t think it will reverse,” Puri had said after the first session. It didn’t on Day 1 of the CAB Super League final but with four wickets to medium-pacers, two to spinners, Majumdar making 83 (131 balls, 194 minutes, 4x9), Saha confidently playing well outside his crease and Vivek Singh hitting a six, the pink-ball trial was off to a good start. Any day of cricket with over 250 runs and seven wickets would be an even contest and it was one at the Eden.
“The outfield’s so good the ball will last the course (75 overs in this case),” Sourav Ganguly, Cricket Association of Bengal president, had said on Thursday. And he was vindicated.