While mulling over what to write in this preamble and ploughing merrily through my birthday truffles (a free-spirited shout out to all fellow pisceans), I googled song-titles with pink in the title. Take your pick from Pink Cadillac, Pink Glove, Pink Flower, Pink Flamingo, Pink Toenails, Pink Petticoat and Pink India.
But no Pink Ball.
The question is, will the eventual chart topper be a power ballad or a misery memoir? The third Test (of four,) which starts at 9am GMT in Ahmedabad, should give us a clue. The teams are level at 1:1, the floodlights are primed, the pitch prepared and the pink SG ball about to be put in the hands of the lucky bowler.
India have had their moments with the blushing ball. Forty-five of them to be precise, when they were bowled out for 36 against Australia in the second innings of the first Test of their recent tour. England, too, have felt the pain of the strawberry globe – all out for 58 against Trent Boult and Tim Southee threel ong years ago.
But this time around we’re in Ahmedabad. This time around the pitch is very dry. Anand Vasu reported earlier this week that the groundsman has been told to do without the 6mm of grass considered necessary to preserve the lacquer of the pink ball. A day-night wicket has never been played on a raging turner before. What will happen when the lights are switched on? And just how much more gripping can this series get?
Team wise, England are likely to make changes, with either Jonny Bairstow or Zak Crawley down to replace Dan Lawrence, and Rory Burns’ place also under threat. Root will have to juggle his hand of bowlers – Anderson, Leach plus Bess, Broad or the luckless Woakes who has toured the sub-continent without playing a game this winter – and goes home after this Test.
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Jasprit Bumrah returns for India and fast bowler Umesh Yadav has been added to the squad. Ishant Sharma will play his hundredth Test, and I liked this little snippet.
So much to chew over. See you at 8.30am GMT for the toss.
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