India to play day-night Test in Australia: Ganguly

Updated February 18, 2020

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India declined Australia’s offer to play a day-night Test during their most recent tour Down Under in 2018-19. — AFP/File
India declined Australia’s offer to play a day-night Test during their most recent tour Down Under in 2018-19. — AFP/File

NEW DELHI: India have agreed to play a day-night Test in Australia during the team’s 2020-21 tour, board president Sourav Ganguly has said.

The decision of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) follows January’s meeting with a Cricket Australia delegation led by chairman Earl Eddings.

India declined Australia’s offer to play a day-night Test during their most recent tour Down Under in 2018-19 and were the last major cricket-playing country to play a pink-ball match when they hosted Bangladesh in Kolkata in November.

“A formal announcement will come soon but we have decided to play a day-night test in Australia,” former captain Ganguly told Monday’s edition of the Times of India newspaper. “We will also play one against England at home next February. Day-night Tests will be a regular feature from now on.”

Ganguly and Cricket Australia (CA) were not immediately available for comment.

CA had originally suggested playing two day-night Tests during the tour but Ganguly had rejected that idea in December.

Ganguly, who took the reins of the BCC) last October, has said he wanted India to play at least one day-night Test in every series.

Officials view day-night Tests as having the potential to reverse the dwindling attendances seen in some venues as Twenty20 cricket continues to grow in popularity around the world.

CA is expected to announce the series schedule next month but media reports both in India and Australia point to Brisbane or Adelaide, which hosted the first pink-ball Test in 2015, as being the venue for the day-night Test against India.

Australia have pushed for more pink-ball Tests, which are favourably timed for spectators and TV audiences as they continue into the evening, as they host India in a four-match series in December-January.

“Day-night Test will happen and we will make a public announcement — the second Test against England next year. Yes, against Australia also,” Ganguly told reporters after a board meeting in New Delhi on Sunday.

India will host England in January-February 2021 for five Tests, of which one will be under lights —and possibly at the refurbished stadium in Ahmedabad, which will be the world’s biggest cricket venue when it opens.

Virat Kohli’s India played their first day-night Test in Kolkata last year, thrashing Bangladesh in just over two days.

Earlier India had declined Australia’s offer of playing a pink-ball Test in Adelaide at the end of 2018, but Kohli now appears more at ease with the format.

“We played the day-night Test here and were pretty happy with how it went. It’s become a very exciting feature of any Test series, so we are absolutely open to play a day-night Test,” Kohli said in January.

Published in Dawn, February 18th, 2020