Cricket

India-Sri Lanka first T20I abandoned

Inspection time: Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant and Virat Kohli have a look at the pitch.

Inspection time: Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant and Virat Kohli have a look at the pitch.   | Photo Credit: RituRajKonwar

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Water seepage leaves wet patches on the pitch, forcing the umpires to call off the contest

The opening match of the India-Sri Lanka three-match T20I series at the ACA Stadium, Barsapara, was abandoned on Sunday without a ball being bowled due to wet patches on the pitch.

The much-anticipated contest, the first match in a T20 World Cup year, had a bizarre end as rain water seeped through the covers and on to the wicket.

Dejected

The abandonment dampened not only the spirit of thousands of enthusiastic fans who had hoped to witness an international match after more than a year, but also for the two teams which were planning to experiment in the run-up to the big event in Australia in October.

It also delayed star Indian pacer Jasprit Bumrah’s comeback following an injury layoff. Things looked bright when India captain Virat Kohli, who left out Manish Pandey, Sanju Samson, Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravindra Jadeja from the playing XI, and elected to field, keeping in mind the dew factor.

Untimely downpour

However, rain lashed the ground 15 minutes before the scheduled 7 p.m. start. The cricket-starved fans, who could not make it to the ground on time, thronged the venue even as it continued to pour for about an hour.

The spectators roared, expecting the match to start when the covers came off, but their wait got longer as the umpires — Anil Choudhary, Nitin Menon and Virender Sharma — were concerned about the wet patches at one end on the pitch. After Kohli had had a look at the damp patches, seemingly due to leakage, the inspection was pushed from 8.15 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The groundstaff, who had worked hard to dry up the outfield using two super soppers, brought out a vacuum cleaner and blew hot air on the wet areas and used a light roller on a piece of cloth spread over the track.

Kohli, along with Rishabh Pant and Shikhar Dhawan, made another visit to the middle when the umpires made their inspection at 9 p.m.

Second inspection

The near-capacity crowd remained hopeful and even danced to popular Bollywood numbers even as the wait continued.

The umpires consulted match referee David Boon and scheduled a second inspection at 9.30 p.m. Around five minutes after the scheduled cutoff time of 9.46 p.m., the match was abandoned.

Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal and BCCI secretary Jay Shah, who had come to witness the match, must have felt disappointed.

The Assam Cricket Association was planning to host a few ‘home’ matches of Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2020, but Sunday’s show would have spoilt its aspirations.

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Printable version | Jan 30, 2020 1:34:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/india-sri-lanka-first-t20i-abandoned/article30487903.ece

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