No play after drama

Australia's tilt at a comeback is delayed due to rain on Day One of third Test

Written by Aditya Iyer | Mohali | Published: March 15, 2013 12:11:16 am

Today,play itself was suspended. No,this had nothing to do with Michael Clarke or Mickey Arthur.

The Punjab Cricket Association wicket didn’t see the light of day,not even for a few fleeting seconds. It slept through Thursday,under many cozy blue rexine covers. For that matter,so did the suburb of Mohali,the city of Chandigarh and the Indian cricket team.

The first two were tucked below a large,single,nimbus blanket. The other in the confines of the team hotel,even as a few spectators braved the weather for some cricket. Unfortunately,however,even the toss wouldn’t take place.

The Australians,on their part,strolled around the drenched outfield sometime before the noon drizzle – the second spell of rain rain ensuring that the ground wouldn’t recover in time for even a late session. Some from the visiting team even indulged in interviews with the official broadcasters. On a cricket field,this,then,surely was their least harmful day of the series.

Thursday was to be the first day of a Test match that was so desperately in need of the walk after all the talk. It didn’t witness even the first step. Different weather forecast channels predict different spells of doom for this Test. The common trend,however,is that rain will surely drop in on Day Two.

The sky-gazing locals claim that even days three and four could be under threat.

Going by the incessant sky fall,the thought of a washed out Test crossed a few idle minds. In the highly unlikely case of no one getting to play any cricket,Michael Clarke will do well to consult the Met-men before handing out further one-match suspensions in the future.

At just the very thought of pointless punishments,though,a new father somewhere in sunny Sydney can afford a chuckle or two. Naughty boys 1,cane ruler 0.

Considering everything does go according to plan and the rain stays away from here on in the match,who will a shortened Test match favour? For one,it will be a lot harder for the crisis-stricken Australians to do in four days what they haven’t in five. Also,the average number of sessions taken by the Indians to polish of their twin wins in this series is exactly the number of sessions left in this game,12. MS Dhoni’s side took 13 sessions in Chennai to win by eight wickets,11 in Hyderabad to claim a thumping innings win. Hedge your bets,now.

So,what do the players do to keep themselves occupied during an indefinite weather break such as the one on dull display on Thursday? They play Bananarama,apparently. At least the Aussies do.

“It’s a bit like scrabble,” said Steven Smith,who over the next few days as Australia’s new number five batsman will be hoping to do something similar. Only instead of building on words put on the board by his team-mates,he will look to build on their runs. “Ed Cowan is good at those sort of games and he introduced it to us today. So it has just been a little bit of fun in the dressing room.”

For the sake of a contest – one already diluted by basketball injuries and player bans – and the life of the series,the time for fun on the field too is hopefully upon the Australians.

Over the remainder of the Test,which will witness a 9 am start instead of the regular 9:30 am to make up for lost time,the visitors have one last shot at salvation. Australian cricket needs it. What it doesn’t need,however,is another suspension of any kind.

Live on Star Cricket,9 am

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