After high emotion, India braced for the low of weather

The Jawaharlal Nehru stadium is entirely under black covers as officials and ground staff scamper to prevent a washout of Thursday's One-day series opener against West Indies.

In fact, the secretary of the association, while praising the drainage system, ran his hands on the green to indicate that even weeklong rains had not seeped through. But rain is forecast on Thursday.

"I can assure you the match will take place, it doesn't matter even if it rains the night before. We will be ready, as long as it doesn't rain on match day," says TC Mathew.

Two Duleep Trophy matches at this venue were badly hit by rain, and the final, between Oct 17 and 21, saw just 10 overs bowled.

The monsoon in Kerala was vigorous this year and it has continued to rain on and off. Kochi normally receives rain at this time of the year; the 2010 ODI against Australia in October was abandoned.

Better contests
Following a one-sided Test series, the three ODIs ought to be competitive. West Indies, under Dwayne Bravo, will gain from the addition of Jason Holder, Ravi Rampaul and Sunil Narine, although they will miss the injured Kieron Pollard.

India arrived in two batches on Tuesday, most of them flying out of Mumbai after Sachin Tendulkar's farewell party. They will feed off the hard-fought series win against Australia when Rohit Sharma (491 runs), Virat Kohli (344 runs), Shikhar Dhawan (284 runs) and skipper MS Dhoni (245 runs) shattered the record books.

Virat has taken a special liking to West Indies, with 715 runs from 15 ODIs, including two centuries. He needs to score 81 in the first game to equal Viv Richards as the fastest batsman to 5,000 runs – in just 114 innings.  

Mohammad Shami was the only standout seam bowler against Australia. Vinay Kumar leaked 102 runs in his last match, a good reason for newcomer Mohit Sharma to get a look-in.

Ramachandran, the curator, calls it a "270-280 pitch", but Kochi has seen only five 300-plus totals. Dew was a factor in the last ODI here, against England in January, and it remains to be seen if that will be the case again.


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