Also, the reason India’s batsmen must carry on through twilight is the Adelaide test.
The first day of the pink ball warmup between Australia A and the Indians ended with a bat dominating the ball as India finished with an 86 run lead. The ball especially worried the hitters under the lights, as the visitors went ahead. ESPNcricinfo analyzes some conclusions for India before the first test against Australia, in Adelaide, which will also be a matter of day and night.
No roulette at the XI de Indios
The fact that India chose not to play spinner R Ashwin or doll spinner Kuldeep Yadav in this match could mean one of three things. Let’s start with the most dramatic possibility first: India is toying with the idea of four rapids in Adelaide. If in fact they are thinking in that sense, it is not without merit. At seven day and night events in Australia, four of which have been held in Adelaide, spinning averages close to 50 per wicket despite an impressive 26 average for local spinner Nathan Lyon. Among the visiting spinners to fight, the most prominent name is that of Pakistan, Yasir Shah. So perhaps it can be argued that there may still be something there to play a spinner from Ashwin’s pedigree, but there could just as well be a case for not playing, except that it could leave India with a long tail.
The other reason could be that India saw enough of Ashwin and Kuldeep in the first warm-up to decide on Ashwin for Adelaide and has left this second match for those who need more practice. Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah required underbelt overs and some long-format pace, while Navdeep Saini and Mohammed Siraj could still be in a competition for last place in pace attack. However, Umesh Yadav remains the favorite for the third closer spot.
The third and worrying reason for India could be to manage Ashwin’s workload, who was not in top shape during the IPL. With Ravindra Jadeja already struggling with a hamstring injury and concussion, India could do better than having to run a cotton ball through its only experienced spinner.
Establish batters need to continue
During the second 63-run wicket partnership between Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill that went to almost ten and up, the ball barely moved out of bounds before one that suddenly came back within a couple of feet to throw Shaw. But around the 20th and near the twilight period, the ball had started to do a lot. In the first 40 minutes of the second session, it seemed that all Australia needed to do was get the ball in the right place; 72-for-1, the Indians ultimately lost eight wickets for 51 runs.
If day-night test cricket has taught us anything in its brief history, it’s these variables: There can be game spaces, usually once it starts to get dark, where bowlers can run away with the game in one session. The only way to get through these phases has been for the hitters in the set to continue playing, as new hitters find it extremely difficult to start under these conditions.
Rishabh Pant or Wriddhiman Saha?
It has emerged that Saha did not play ahead of Pant in the first game of the tour because of some preference, but because Pant had woken up with a sore neck. However, Saha had seized that opportunity to score half a century to save games, proving that he, too, can hit in Australia. That possibly resulted in a bat-off between the two goalkeepers today, as Pant scored five and Saha nothing. The big gloves went to Pant, but Saha pulled out a stunner on the field and ran back to carry one over her shoulder.
Head injury protocols
When Cameron Green hit Jasprit Bumrah on the head, Bumrah immediately signaled to everyone that he was fine and tried to refuse medical attention. Referees had to step in and ask Indian medical staff to come check Bumrah and his helmet. This is a significant event that comes immediately after a concussion to Jadeja during the first T20I of the tour, for which it was tested only during the inning break. He was allowed to hit for four balls against high-quality speed skittles with possible concussion. And if Bumrah had his way, he would have refused immediate attention today. Instead of leaving this protocol up to the player, it should be mandatory to test them after every blow to the head.
Shami, Bumrah looks dangerous
It was a bit surprising when both Bumrah and Shami played neither the last two T20Is nor the test warm-up in the past week, but that was the result of a well-earned trust between Virat Kohli and his fast bowlers. They wanted to get some rest and were given their quota. And when they returned to the park for this three-day match before the first test that begins on December 17, they both looked sinister.
The pink ball was moving under the lights, and they were throwing almost no missed deliveries. The pitch made them look sensational, but their pace picked up, the seam movement was pronounced, and long periods were even thrown. Luckily for the pair, it rained long enough when it was time to finish her spells, giving Shami an extended break to provide batters with more nightmares as she ended up throwing 11 overs at the trot. Whoever the third is, and the fourth, if need be, fast could be for India, the first two showed they were ready.
As Bumrah scored his first fifty in first class and walked towards an honor guard of his teammates was the highlight of the day, the bowling form (20 overs between them for 62 runs and five wickets) of him and Shami could be India’s biggest positive of the day.
Sidharth Monga is assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo