Australia chooses three seamers and two spinners; Haddin replaces Wade

Overcast sky and scattered showers robbed the third Test of the opening day’s play here on Thursday. The sun broke out late afternoon but the teams had retired for the day after umpires Richard Kettleborough and Aleem Dar ruled there was no possibility of play.

Parts of the lush green field hid under the blue covers, glistening even in the murky ambience, but the spectators experienced nothing but frustration in the stands.

There were only a handful of faithful cricket fans who made an appearance despite drizzle drenching this sleepy town from midnight.

The weather was cloudy, murky, breezy, but no cricket. The Indian cricketers made a fleeting visit; so did the Australians.

The outfield was slushy and mood so uninspiring. The players sought the cosy comforts of the dressing room and then the hotel even as the ground staff made brave efforts to get things going.

By afternoon, a heavy drizzle ensured even the ground staff disappear from the scene.

Banter and laughter

Elsewhere, there was time to catch up with old times. There was banter and laughter in the commentary team where N.S. Sidhu had his colleagues in splits with his now-famous one-liners and hilarious anecdotes from his playing days. It must be tough for his old colleagues to recognise the man as the same Sidhu who hardly opened his mouth in the dressing room. Now they struggle to keep him quiet.

V.V.S. Laxman’s mind wandered back to that epic day at the Eden Gardens 12 years ago. Actually, he is continuously reminded by his fans and friends, much after he has stopped playing, much after that great innings.

So Laxman has had to live that day a million times, remembering a day that changed the face of Indian cricket, an innings that underlined the meaning of class and commitment combining to create magic at the crease.

Mohali on Thursday was a hollow stage, waiting for its actors to perform.

The Indians will name their cast tomorrow but the Australians lost no time in announcing a team that Brad Haddin for an injured Mathew Wade, three seamers in Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc and Moises Henriques and the two spinners — Nathan Lyon and Xavier Doherty.

David Warner, Ed Cowan, Phil Hughes, Michael Clarke and Steve Smith complete the line-up.

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