“We are not used to catching the pink ball, bowling with the pink ball, and as batters, playing against the pink ball”
The pink ball. It can come on to you faster. It moves more in the evening than during the daytime. It’s weird to track and catch. Oh, and you’ve also got to change your body clock for day-night games.
“There are mental changes you have to make,” Bumrah said. “Growing up, we haven’t played a lot with the pink ball. We are not used to catching the pink ball, bowling with the pink ball, and as batters, playing against the pink ball. Whatever little games we’ve played we’re trying to get feedback from those games – certain ways the ball behaves under the lights, and how to adjust to you. We’re still very new in this format. We’re playing a pink-ball Test after a long time.”
India have played three day-night Tests so far – in Kolkata, Adelaide and Ahmedabad. They won two and lost one. Sri Lanka too, have won two out of their three day-night Tests (in Dubai, Bridgetown and Brisbane). Although morning sessions are generally the toughest for batters in red-ball cricket, the post-dinner sessions have been more difficult when the pink ball is in use.
“As professional cricketers, it is our job to adjust as soon as we can. Sometimes the pink ball reaches you sooner than you expect,” Bumrah said. “The timing is different. In a normal Test match the ball swings more in the morning session. Here maybe the ball won’t do much in the afternoon, but in the evening it could probably swing more. There are many such small pointers.
“We haven’t played many day-night matches, and whatever we have done have been in different conditions. We are just trying to work on whatever little we have noticed in our limited experience.”
Where the first Test of the series began at 9.30am, this one starts four and a half hours later, meaning cricketers have to be at their peak at a completely different time of the day. The teams did, however, have an extra two days to prepare for this Test, because India won the first match inside three days. Both sides had trained with the pink ball even while they were in Mohali.
“Of course the times are different. We practise in the evening. While playing a [red-ball] Test match you practise early morning because the sleep pattern is usually like that. These are adjustments you have to make – you play till late at night, so you have to practice at night. This is part of our journey.”
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf