India and Bangladesh will step into the unknown when they two teams play the first ever day-night Test in India, at the Eden Gardens. ESPNcricinfo poses five questions around day-night Tests
How will dew affect the cricket?
This will be the 12th day-night Test in all, but the first one to be played in proper winter. Of the 11 before this, nine were played in summer; the other two were hosted by Dubai, which doesn't have a cold winter. With winter of course comes the dew, heavy dew. The ball gets heavier and slippery, making batting easier. It is hard enough in ODIs; how will the Test manage?
There have been 12 first-class day-night matches in India before this, all played in the months of August and September. Even then there were complaints of dew; this Test will be in proper winter. That's one thing everyone will have eyes on.
Will they get the ball right?
This will be the first Test with a pink SG ball. The feedback after the day-night first-class matches in Greater Noida in 2017 was mixed. Picking the ball was not an issue during the day or under the lights, but it was a struggle during the twilight hours when it appeared to be orange when tossed up in the air. However, the bigger problem was that it took spinners out of the equation.
Kuldeep Yadav, who played that Duleep Trophy, said it didn't turn much because of the extra lacquer required. The same went for reverse. Yuvraj Singh said the extra lacquer and the grass required to keep the ball in tact meant it swung and seamed more. Mohammad Shami was unplayable in a day-night club match played in 2016 in Kolkata between Mohun Bagan and Bhowanipore.
What time will the match start?
One way to make sure the dew doesn't have a big impact on the cricket might be a start at around noon as opposed to the usual 1.30pm start for day-night matches in India. That could mean only one session is played under lights and with possible dew, but that might also somewhat defeat the original purpose: to play a chunk of the day after office hours so that bigger crowds can come in.
What do they know of day-night Tests who only days Tests know?
One of the concerns is that neither of these sides has had adequate experience of playing Test cricket under lights. Among the India squad, Cheteshwar Pujara, Mayank Agarwal, Rishabh Pant and Kuldeep have played first-class day-night cricket before. And Pujara has scored a double-century there too. Shami and Saha have played a club match with the pink ball. Other than that, it is an unknown for the others. There has only been one first-class day-night match in Bangladesh, that in February 2013 when most of the main players were away on international duty. If anything, India hold the advantage in terms of experience.
What does this mean for Adelaide?
One of the main reasons behind India's reluctance to day-night Tests last year was the tour of Australia which was their greatest chance to win a series there. It was believed the depleted Australian side might even the scales through their experience in day-night cricket, and India didn't want to give them an even break. You would think India would have similar reservations when touring Australia in 2020, but if they play a day-night Test at home, they might be somewhat obliged to do so in Australia too. Unless of course they don't enjoy the experience against Bangladesh, and make that the basis of disagreement.
If you flick lights on, will they come?
One of the great debates with sparse crowd in Indian Test venues has been whether it is because of poorly located grounds and even poorer facilities. The new BCCI president Sourav Ganguly's response when pointed in that direction was that the same people don't care about the distances and inconveniences when the IPL is played at the same ground. To him, day-night Test cricket is the bigger solution. To current captain Virat Kohi, the solution is to play at traditional elite venues that historically have cared for Test cricket.
A day-night Test at Eden Garden will satisfy the criteria laid out by both the India captain and the BCCI captain. Kolkata usually sends out big crowds, which might be bigger for the day-night Test. If they are, it won't be that big a deal because it is expected in Kolkata. If they aren't, alarm bells better start ringing.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo