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Chennai Test: Third day's play called off

The umpires had one look at the waterlogged outfield and abandoned any hopes of play. In Pics

india Updated: Dec 04, 2005 18:40 IST

Bad weather continued to play havoc with the first cricket Test between India and Sri Lanka as play was cancelled for the third successive day here on Sunday.

Cyclone Baaz, which had weakened into a depression over the Bay of Bengal, brought more rain to the southeast coast of India and drenched this southern metropolis.

Umpires Daryl Harper and Mark Benson had one look at the waterlogged Chepauk outfield and abandoned any hopes of play before the scheduled start at 9 am (0330 GMT).

"I can't see much play over the remaining two days either unless the sun breaks out soon," Harper said. "The ground has really taken a pounding from the rain."

With more rain forecast over the next 24 hours, it is likely that not a ball will be bowled in the Test. Rules, however, do not permit umpires to cancel the match till the fifth day.

Indian captain Rahul Dravid said he shared the disappointment of local fans who have seen the fourth successive international match in Chennai affected by rain.

"One does feel bad for the cricket enthusiasts of Chennai, but no one can fight the weather," he said. "It has been a disappointing time for all of us."

India's one-day internationals here against New Zealand in 2003 and South Africa in the last fortnight were abandoned without a ball being bowled.

The second Test against Australia in October last year was drawn after the final day's play was washed out with India on the edge of victory.

The touring Sri Lankans were dismayed their first Test series on Indian soil in eight years had begun badly.

"We were all so excited about this series, so this is really disappointing," said team manager Michael Tissera.

"The youngsters want to go out and play, not stay confined to their hotel rooms every day."

The second Test will be played in New Delhi from December 10-14 and the third in either Kanpur or Ahmedabad from Dec 18-22. Clear weather is forecast in all three cities this month.

First Published: Dec 04, 2005 09:34 IST