Finally, after a week, the rain gods relented and there was sunshine. The forecast was bleak till noon but a fourth and final inspection by umpires at 2pm gave hope that the Duleep Trophy final between East Zone and Central Zone at the Chidambaram Stadium could commence.
However, only 31.2 overs were possible before stumps were drawn on Day 2, after Central elected to field. With more than four sessions lost, the action was characterised by the urgency shown by the Central Zone players. Their eagerness to push the defending champions on the back-foot ensured that East ended the day on 64 for three.
An hour into the day's play, Central players had every reason to rejoice. East Zone skipper, Natraj Behera, was hit by an Ishwar Pandey bouncer, which took a toll on his concentration. Soon, Behera hit a low full toss from Jalaj Saxena straight into Bhuvneshwar Kumar's hands at mid-on.
Soon, Central skipper Md Kaif deployed a more attacking field, bringing in an extra slip, a short midwicket and asking the cover fielder to move in. Bhuvneshwar then banged a delivery short, which Anustup Majumdar, who was struggling, failed to time. He handed a simple catch at midwicket.
Earlier, Dheeraj Jadhav missed the line of a Saxena delivery to be trapped in front of the wickets while trying to fend it off the front foot. Before the start of the game, both teams observed a minute's silence for former Central player, Raja Ali.
Who cares about spectators?
'Security' was cited as the reason for the spectators not being allowed inside. By the time the gates were opened at 3pm, many had left in frustration. A poor advertisement for the game, which is already shorn of big stars.
Scoreboard: East Zone 1st innings: D Jadhav lbw Saxena 25, N Behera c Bhuvaneshwar b Saxena 22, A Majumdar cSaxena b Bhuvaneshwar 13, I Jaggi batting 3, I Saxena batting 0; Extras (nb1) 1; Total (3 wickets; 31.2 overs ) 64 FoW: 1-44, 2-55, 3-64; Bowling: Praveen 7-4-4-0; Bhuvaneshwar 7.2-2-23-1; Pandey 8-3-25-0; Saxena 9-5-12-2.