With so much of international cricket being played these days, it is no surprise that domestic cricket has been reduced to a training centre. If the players feel like guinea pigs, as they play pink ball cricket under floodlights, so be it.

As wicket-keeper batsman Parthiv Patel observed, it is important to go through the experiments fully instead of shelving them abruptly, to know all the pros and cons.

Negotiating the pink ball, especially under floodlights, on a slow pitch at the Ekana International Stadium was a challenging task.

If anything, it helped to bring out the best in some players, like Priyank Panchal who hammered a century in both the innings, and leg-spinner Karn Sharma who won it for India Red with 10 wickets in the match including a 6-for in the fourth innings.

As the Green captain Parthiv observed, everything was good, including the pitch.

‘’We scored 300 runs in the fourth innings. We did not play the first innings well, and that cost us the match’’, was the candid observation of the dimunitive southpaw.

On that count alone, full credit to Priyank Panchal - the top scorer in first class cricket last season with 1310 runs - who not only read the conditions accurately but also applied himself very well to win appreciation even from the opposition bowlers.

‘’It is a slow wicket, not easy to play. It was important for me to stay. I knew the spinners would get some help. Playing day and night was new for me. Pink ball was also a new experience.

"It plays different to the red ball. I decided to play the ball late and not commit myself’’, said Panchal, who had scored a triple century in the Ranji Trophy last season.

Playing the ball on merit is easier said than done, as it calls for efficiency and a calm approach in execution; evidenced by Panchal's knock, which got better through the match.

Panchal and Dinesh Karthik put the score on the board, but it was important for the spinners to strike. Karn Sharma, who took 31 wickets in eight matches last season, did that in a splendid fashion, in partnership with off spinner Krishnappa Gowtham in the first innings.

When Gowtham was sick in the second innings, unable to bowl on the last day, Karn
did his job in much superior style, bagging six wickets despite Karun Nair putting up an inspiring riposte with a sparkling century.

‘’I am glad that I got to bowl and we won the match. It was important to bowl on the spot. At the start of a season, it is good to get into the rhythm’’, said Karn Sharma.

The leg spinner, quite confident about his trade, said that he saw no difference when it came to bowling with a pink ball.

‘’I didn’t see any difference. Pink ball cricket will be good for the game’’, he observed.

The positive report on the pink ball apart, the manner in which wickets consistently tumbled under the floodlights, almost every day, continues to remain a mystery.

Gowtham had pointed out that there was better grip on the pitch for the spinners in the evening. A lot more may emerge when action shifts to the Green Park Stadium in Kanpur for the next Duleep Trophy tie between India Red and India Blue, which gets underway from Wednesday.