Ahead of the second pink-ball clash in the country, Monty Panesar insisted that if the pink-ball does start to swing and seam, England have a great chance of winning the Test. While noting that the pink-ball neutralises India’s home advantage, he questioned whether India could play it out.
India’s troubled waters against the pink-ball were exposed in Adelaide when the team was bowled out for 36, their lowest total in Test cricket. All of it came with the ball swinging and seaming, which could possibly put them under the pump against England in Ahmedabad. With the conditions more or less to be like the Chennai Test, aiding spin, the pink-ball and the under-lights factor could tilt the game in either direction, making it highly competitive.
While England are hopeful of inflicting an Adelaide scar on India, India too would have looked at England’s pink-ball woes during their tour to New Zealand. However, former English spinner Monty Panesar opined that England have a great chance of winning the Test if the pink-ball starts to swing and seam, under the lights. The former spinner also reckoned that India will obviously play to their strengths - spin bowling.
“Probably, the pitch will turn a little bit. Obviously, India is going to play to their strengths. But, there is the post-dinner session when the pink ball swings and seams a lot. I think that plays into the hands of the England team. If the ball starts swinging and seaming a little bit, I think England have got a great chance of winning this Test,” Panesar told TOI.
India’s only criticism going into this Test would be their batting order, which has struggled against swing bowling in the past, most notably against the pink-ball. With the pink-ball having a prolonged shine, Panesar insisted that the novelty factor neutralises India’s home advantage, where they can bank on spinners.
“The pink ball is going to swing and seam at some stage. It is not like the red ball. The pink ball moves in the air, it reverses. This pink ball neutralises India’s home advantage. The question is: whether this Indian team can hold their nerve when the ball moves in the air or reverses and not panic?” the left-arm spinner added.
While England have not yet announced their playing XI, their skipper Joe Root has hinted at the inclusion of the veterans - Stuart Broad and James Anderson - for the day-night clash. It would be interesting to see if the Three Lions indeed have a conclusive plan set to tackle the spin bowling, as the two teams clash to regain a lead in the series and a possible place in the World Test Championship final.