Floodlight Malfunction Grabs More Attention Than Pink Ball in Duleep Trophy Opener
India Red and India Green's Duleep Trophy opener was the first time pink ball was used in a first-class match in India, but the first day of the match got marred due to malfunctioning floodlight
It was an inauspicious start to the inaugural day/night Duleep Trophy match with a major floodlight malfunction grabbing more attention than pink ball making its first class debut in India.
A power failure saw two stoppages in play with the second one leading to lights going off completely in a couple of floodlight towers.
There was a total 78 minutes of interruption due to power tripping in two towers in two separate phases.
Yuvraj Singh's India Red lasted only 48.2 overs as they were bowled out for 161 with Sandeep Sharma grabbing 4 for 62.
Left-handed opener Abhinav Mukund was the only batsman who looked in control during his innings of 77 off 116 balls that had 12 boundaries.
Incidentally, Red team were all out even before the floodlights became functional.
The Green team fared no better as pacer Nathu Singh rattled the top order with pace and swing under lights leaving them at 36 for 3. Nathu had figures of 3 for 15 in first four overs having accounted for Robin Uthappa (1), Jalaj Saxena (10) and Rajat Paliwal (1).
Nathu got Robin with a delivery that pitched on three quarter length which came back sharply breaching through his defence. Jalaj chased a wide delivery while Paliwal also got an inswinger that trapped him infront.
One thing was evident that the pink ball swung a bit more under lights than in the afternoon session. The entire focus during the duration of play was on the pink kookaburra.
The good part of it was it held its shine during the 48 overs in the first innings.
More than Pink kookaburra, it was poor application by Red batsmen that saw them losing wickets at regular intervals. The pitch had even grass cover and Green bowlers mostly bowled three quarter or fuller length deliveries to get wicket.
KS Bharat (3) tried to pull a delivery from Sandeep and the ball ballooned up with Uthappa taking a skier. Sudeep Chatterjee (5) got a fuller delivery that was moving away as he went for a drive and was caught behind.
Yuvraj Singh tried to flick Ankit Rajpoot (2/16) to be caught by Paliwal at square leg. All were regulation dismissals that could have happened with red kookaburra also.
Mukund however played sensibly even as wickets tumbled at the other end. One delivery that accounted for Gurkeerat (0) saw Ankit bowl a sharp incutter that took inside edge onto keeper Parthiv Patel's hands.
Similarly Sandeep got one to dip back bowling Kuldeep Yadav. Spinners bowled 14 overs in all with veteran Pragyan Ojha getting 3/19 in 5 overs.
However on a first day pitch with cover of grass, there was not much turn available off the surface. All the three dismissals off Ojha's bowling was due to poor shot selection.
There was further embarrassment in store for UPCA as light in two of the towers, installed by former India captain Kapil Dev's company Dev Musco, completely went off at 7:56pm as the players were forced to leave the field.
The arrangements made by UPCA for the match, including practice pitches and bald pitches in the field, have been pretty deplorable.