Playing under light tough: Pujara

As players had suspected, twilight zone, which falls in the second session of a day’s play, has proven to be the most difficult phase to bat. On the opening day of the day-night Test here on Friday, five wickets fell during that period. On Saturday’s second day, seven more batsmen were dismissed, accounting for over 46 percentage of total wickets fallen over the last two days.

Cheteshwar Pujara, who batted fluently for an innings of 55, admitted batting under lights was difficult. “When I batted yesterday and even when I saw on TV what was happening in the first session, I think first session is easier to bat because there are no lights. When there are (artificial) lights, the ball starts swinging a little more. So, it is a bit challenging. And also the kind of experience we have, most of the Tests we have played during the day. During the sunlight, it is easy to see the ball, whether it is red or pink. But when we start playing under lights, it is a bit challenging for the batsmen.”

The reason behind India’s declaration too was based on this logic. They had lost five wickets since the resumption of the second session when the lights had begun to come on and only the last Indian pair at the crease, the hosts decided to make the most of the bowler-friendly conditions.

“I think that was the right time to bowl because the ball was swinging and we felt that if we start bowling at that time, we can pick up early wickets and that’s what happened,” said Pujara. “We got four early wickets. That was the right time because the dew wasn’t there either. Dew started after tea time, so that was the perfect time to bowl.”

Four of Bangladesh’s batsmen have been struck on their helmets so far with two of them having been replaced due to concussion. Pujara felt that the artificial light and pink ball had a role in that more than the batsmen’s poor technique.

“I thought light and pink ball had a role to play because as a batsman, it is not easy to pick the ball, especially the short balls,” he pointed out. “The kind of pace our fast bowlers have, it is not easy. So, I think it is because of the pink ball and playing under lights because their batters, as far as I know, they haven’t even played any first-class game with the pink ball. So, it’s not easy.”

Having played with the Kookaburra pink ball in the Duleep Trophy, Pujara felt that SG ball, being used in this Test, swung more and offered a bit more turn.

“Not a major difference because even this ball is travelling on to the bat,” he said. “SG ball is swinging a little more than what Kookaburra used to do. But I think there is a little more spin with the SG ball. When I played Duleep trophy with the Kookaburra ball, I don’t think there was much assistance for spinners apart from the wrist spinners. With this ball, I think there is some spin. We saw today when Taijul (Islam) was bowling, he also got a little bit of spin. Ashwin also got a little bit of spin. So, I think there is a little bit of assistance for the spinners, but not as much as you get with the red ball.”

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