India to bat after rain delays start at Durban

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Published: Sunday, December 26, 2010, 13:40 [IST]
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India to bat after rain delays start

The start of the second Test between South Africa and India at Durban was delayed an hour due to the occurrence of morning rain at the coastal town. Though a thick drizzle beat down for a few hours before stopping at 8:00 am local time (12:30 IST), it started up again at 10:30 local time (2:00 IST) as the groundstaff rushed to put the covers back on. The staff had been hard at work to drain out and dry the outfield. The "supersopper" was doing its rounds till a little while ago, but there was no word on when exactly play would commence. South Africa has just won the toss and has chosen to bowl first.

If the wind blows from the northeast, that is from the, sea, into the land, the overcast conditions are likely to clear up. But if the wind blows the other way, a wet and cloudy sky over the Kingsmead Stadium might prevail.

Sources say the wicket, which has remained fairly hard and green over the last few days will not be as unpredictable as the strip at Centurion last week. The side batting first can therefore look forward to a less hellish time. However, the wicket suits pace bowling more, speaking of which, India will be relieved to have their speedster spearhead Zaheer Khan back in the ranks to lead a hitherto disoriented attack.

In other urgent news, Indian opener Gautam Gambhir has been ruled out of the Durban Test as he is yet to recover from a blow to the wrist while batting in the nets on Saturday, Dec 25. He will be replaced by Tamil Nadu batsman Murali Vijay, who made an impressive debut against Australia earlier this year.

Meanwhile, struggling middle order batter Suresh Raina will have to sit out this match as he has been swapped for new-comer Cheteshwar Pujara, who also made his debut against Australia a few months ago.


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