Preparations for the first Day/Night Test match here, only the third in India, were on in full swing as the home team, which came in after Sri Lanka finished their afternoon session, hit the ground running.
While India will start firm favourites on the field, off it, there are many interesting sub-texts lending spice to the occasion.
On Wednesday evening, Rahul Dravid and Javagal Srinath were seen walking into the stadium one after the other. It brought back memories of the day 26 years ago, when India won the World Cup quarterfinals against Pakistan at the Chinnaswamy stadium which was hosting its maiden D/N contest. While Dravid hadn’t made the cut, Srinath was at the peak of his career.
Virat Kohli (foreground) trains as, Vikram Rathour, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Rahul Dravid interact during a training session in Bengaluru. (AP Photo)
A decade and a half later, Dravid returns to his home turf in a new role as head coach, having played his last Test here in October 2010 against Australia. Srinath will be the match referee in the first pink-ball Test to be hosted by his home association.
Add to it opener Mayank Agarwal. Twenty Tests young since his debut at the MCG in December 2018, he is set to play his maiden international at his nursery. The venue is also special to Virat Kohli, considering it is the home ground of his IPL franchise RCB.
Mohali ✈️ BengaluruPink-ball Test, here we come 🙌#TeamIndia | #INDvSL | @Paytm https://t.co/9fK2czlEKu
— BCCI (@BCCI) 1646903037000
Crowd capacity increased
With spectators returning to the stadium for the first time in two years, the excitement is palpable. Adding fizz to the contest is the increase in spectator capacity. The Karnataka government on Thursday gave the KSCA the go-ahead to have a full house of 33,000 from the 50% approved earlier.
“The government has given us permission to increase the capacity to 100%. The fan response to this match has been overwhelming. The remaining tickets will go up for sale on Friday morning,” said KSCA secretary Santosh Menon.