Sadly Sodden: The affinity of rain for cricket is legendary. (File Picture)
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MOHALI: The miracle happened, at least part of it, and it was sent down to earth in the form of late winter rain. Inclement weather washed out the entire first day’s play in the third Test, internally-tattered Australia thus surviving their first outing on the field after ‘Homework-gate’, and left with four more days to fend off to avoid going 0-3 down in the four-match series.
Play was called off at 1 p.m. without the toss having taken place. Proceedings will begin thirty minutes earlier – at 9 a.m – on the four remaining days to make up for the lost sessions.
A soggy morning led to a couple of hours of cessation of rain, during which time the groundstaff worked earnestly to ready the field, but just about lunch-break a nagging drizzle resumed , pushing back further an inspection that was originally scheduled for noon.
With an eye on the weather, the teams had arrived late to the venue and the Aussies – a ravenous Peter Siddle, specifically – were seen wading into something resembling a meat-laden Indian delicacy while they waited for things to clear up.
There was no respite, however, from bad weather and all through it the square lay hidden under a water-laden tarpaulin. The cancellation of play also meant that Shikhar Dhawan will have to wait some more to take the field on Test debut.
Since the toss didn’t happen, some mystery also remained over India’s eleven, and it was not known whether MS Dhoni had opted to play Harbhajan Singh or Pragyan Ojha, or both. Michael Clarke, on examining the pitch, had said he expected similar turn and assistance for spinners as was available in Chennai and Hyderabad. The gloomy forecast, however, just might save Clarke's depleted team the blushes at Mohali.