Heavy rain washed out India-Lanka One-dayer

Published: Saturday, August 19, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Colombo: The weather gods once again forced the umpires to call off the opening match of the bi-series between India and Sri Lanka with the visitors left stranded at 11 for no loss at the Singhalese Sports Club here.Umpires inspected the ground at 1130 hrs and decided to abandon the match after heavy showers started again.

So far only 16 minutes of play has been possible at the Unitech Cup, reduced to a two-team affair after South Africa pulled out.

Earlier, India were 11 for no loss when bad light stopped play yesterday and a subsequent heavy shower washed away the tie. Skipper Rahul Dravid was batting on nine, while Sachin Tendulkar, making his comeback after the shoulder surgery, was unbeaten on two after 22 balls had been bowled.

With the welcome sunshine, coupled with the Trojan efforts of the groundsmen, it was decided to play the first 50 overs, while the remainder was scheduled for today.

Dravid won the toss and opted to bat and walked out with Tendulkar to open the innings.

All eyes were on fit-again Tendulkar, who was returning to international cricket since March and had a shoulder surgery, and the Little Champion opened the innings with his skipper.

Dravid took strike and the first ball from Chaminda Vaas took an inside edge before crashing on Dravid's pad and the Lankans were up in the arms, clamouring in vain for a leg before appeal. Vaas, now sporting long hair, gave no leeway to Dravid and started with a maiden over.

Lasith Malinga, the Lankan tearaway bowler with a sling-shot action, took over and his first ball to Tendulkar was gently pushed for a single and the batting maestro had opened his account in the first ball.

Dravid made a statement of sort with a fine glance off his pads when Malinga strayed marginally and the Indian captain stroked another beauty when he drove Vaas through the covers.

Dravid had faced 19 balls, with two fours, for his unbeaten nine.

Tendulkar, on his part, faced three balls from Malinga, middled them all and got two singles.

But 16 minutes into the game and bad light forced the players to leave the ground and heavy shower followed, prompting the umpires to call off the game at 1510 hrs.

The match was supposed to resume at 1000 hrs today but the inclement weather prevailing in the emerald isle prevented an on-time start.

India have left out Dinesh Mongia, S Sreesanth and RP Singh while Suresh Raina was supposed to do carry the drinks.

Sri Lanka, despite claims that the regular captain has recovered, left out Marvan Atapattu.

The tournament has suffered one after another jolt since the beginning. Monday's car bomb-blast saw South Africa returning home as the tri-series was reduced to a bi-series between India and Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) wanted five matches but India agreed for three and with rain god showing no signs of relenting, the entire series runs the risk of being washed out.

''It has been quite upsetting. From tri-series, it became a two-team affair and now rain forced us to reschedule it again and again. People here were looking forward to some quality cricket but rain has come as a regular spoilsport,'' rued SLC spokesman Samantha Algama.

''We shifted the venue from R Premadasa Stadium to SSC just because we have a better drainage system here and all three matches were made day-night affair. But even that effort went in vain. We have done whatever we could but if heaven conspires, I think we can't be blamed,'' he added.

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