Bangladesh take their first steps into the pink-ball world

Mominul Haque bats against the pink ball Raton Gomes

If the colour of the ball hadn't been visible, it would have been easy to assume that the Bangladesh batsmen were still suffering the hangover from the Indore Test. They hit the nets on Sunday in Indore and were tentative to anything delivered or chucked at them around off-stump, played their cut shots without much power, and concentrated on just leaving balls as far as possible.

This is not how the Bangladesh batsmen usually play in the nets, but against the new pink balls, there was a clear air of caution. This was only an optional training session the day after the first Test ended in a big defeat for them, but nearly the whole top order turned up. Imrul Kayes, Shadman Islam, Mominul Haque, Liton Das and Mushfiqur Rahim were busy taking on pace bowlers with the occasional dash of spin from Taijul Islam and Nayeem Hasan.

Imrul and Mominul's focus was on watching the ball as closely as possible. They spent one session facing Al-Amin Hossain and Mustafizur Rahman, two fast bowlers vying for the third seamer's spot in Kolkata, and then another session facing throwdowns, where they were simply trying to keep their eyes on the ball and get used to spotting it in the dark.

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Both batsmen let themselves go against the spinners, indulging in flowing drives as head coach Russell Domingo and bowling coaches Charl Langeveldt and Daniel Vettori kept close watch. This day was all about gathering as much information about the pink ball as possible.

Bangladesh have one more day of full nets at Holkar Stadium before leaving for Kolkata on Tuesday. Saif Hassan, who needed stitches on his left hand after getting hurt while taking Cheteshwar Pujara's catch at gully during the Test, is expected to bat tomorrow, while Mahmudullah, Mohammad Mithun and Ebadot Hossain are set to take part in the training session too.

"The first time I saw a pink ball was about eight months or a year ago when my brother got it for me," Abu Jayed, Bangladesh's most successful bowler in the Indore Test, said. "This is my first session with the pink ball. I missed the session back home as I was playing National Cricket League.

"I can only tell the difference after I have bowled with it. The pink ball is new for both sides. The team that will play better will go on to win. We are hopeful."

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Jayed, who took the wickets of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane in Indore, said his focus was on accuracy more than anything else.

"They are some of the best batsmen in the world. Virat Kohli was my dream wicket," he said. "It was a good period [on the second morning]. I tried to swing the ball, (but) there wasn't a lot of movement. My key is swing. I want to beat the batsmen with swing.

"We have to bowl at a good line and length. We keep doing it, the more likely that the batsman will make a mistake. I want to be more accurate, stop giving too many boundaries. Our bowling coach Charl Langeveldt isn't too worried about increasing pace. He told us that Indian bowlers are bowling between 130-140kph. They are more keen on bowling in the right line."

Jayed also took some time out to talk to Mohammed Shami, now one of the top ten bowlers in the world, about what made him tick. "It was a learning experience from these senior bowlers. I spoke to Shami bhai. We are both seam bowlers. I always follow his bowling carefully, and even tried to find out whether our delivery point is similar."

Judging by how their first session with the pink ball went, Bangladesh have a lot of work to do and a very short amount of time to do it in.