Rain hampers India's preparation for Boxing

Published: Friday, December 21, 2007, 11:47 [IST]
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Rain again hampered India's preparations for the Boxing Day Test with only 10 overs possible on the second day of the weather-marred three-day cricket match against Victoria at the Junction Oval here.

Showers prevented play after lunch, when India had moved from an overnight 110 for three to 133 for four when play was stopped for the day.

The Indians have had only a total of 48 overs' batting practice in their only lead-up game to the opening match of the four-Test series against Australia, starting at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Wednesday.

In the 10 overs of play possible on Friday, former captain Sourav Ganguly was out for 59.

Ganguly hit left-arm medium-pacer Allan Wise to short mid-wicket where he was caught by Aiden Blizzard.

When play was called off for the day, Rahul Dravid was 38 not out and Yuvraj Singh was on six.

Some of the Indian players spent most of the day in the indoor nets rather than wait for play.

"They've been using the MCG over the last two days, the indoor facility, but God forbid we don't get any match tomorrow then we'll have to go back there," team media manager M.V. Sridhar said.

"It's definitely not an ideal (build-up), but maybe we brought the rain all the way from India. Fortunately we have the indoor facilities."

India will not seek an extension to this game, or a separate scratch match, on Sunday, but are hopeful to gain some centre wicket training at the Junction before the MCG Test.

India can at least take heart they have played plenty of cricket recently, as they just completed three Tests at home against Pakistan, which all went to five days and resulted in a 1-0 series win.

"Fortunately most of the boys are in good nick, they're coming off a long series, so (the rain) really isn't affecting anyone," Sridhar said.

Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist said he expected India to have enough cricket under their belts.

"They're coming out the back of a lot of Test cricket, a very hard-fought series against Pakistan," he said.

"They should be match fit and raring to go."

Victorian coach Greg Shipperd said the tourists would be ready despite their truncated build-up.

"They're a pretty experienced team I think and they have a very senior leadership group in their team and you don't play Test cricket without having a certain skills set," Shipperd said.

"While not wanting to underplay the value of centre-wicket practice, they'll certainly be fresh."

Dravid has had the benefit of facing 147 deliveries over three-and-a-half hours at the crease against Victoria should he be asked to open the Indian innings in the Boxing Day Test.

Wise is the only wicket taker with 4-37.

More showers are forecast for Saturday's final day of play with strong winds.

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