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Rain plays spoilsport on opening day

Rain robbed more than five hours of play on the opening day of the three-day cricket match between New Zealand and the Board President XI.

india Updated: Sep 27, 2003 03:33 IST

It will always be difficult to keep the rain gods away from the ACA-VDCA Stadium. Actually someone with a little sense of geography would not have chosen this particular spot for cricket.

While the Bay of Bengal on one side and the hills on the other make the ground picturesque, it also ensures that with the slightest low pressure developing over the sea, with the stadium on the windward side, a drizzle passes over the stadium every other moment.

That is exactly what happened throughout the better part of Friday, the first day of the three-day match between the New Zealanders and the Board President's XI here.

Heavy overnight rain had ensured no play was possible in the first session and the umpires, Jasbir Singh and SK Sharma, could only make the second inspection at 11 a.m. There were some very damp patches on the far end near the bowlers' run up, and quite a few parts where the close-in fielders stand were wet.

The groundsmen, the Super Sopper and copious amounts of sawdust worked relentlessly to dry up those parts but just after the third inspection at noon, when the umpires said the match was going to start in an hour, another spurt of showers brought the covers back on.

Finally play started only at three, and only 10 overs could be bowled as another round of showers swept the ground.

Electing to bat first, Board President's XI were 23 without loss with skipper Virender Sehwag and Akash Chopra batting on nine each when play was called off.

The captain looked the more aggressive slashing at anything short and wide of the off-stump. One such attempt flew dangerously between gully and point and ended up on the fence. Sehwag had another scare when an in-cutter from Ian Butler jagged past the inside-edge and over the bails.

Delhi opener Chopra -- sent in ahead of Shib Sundar Das -- on the other hand, looked more restrained and kept leaving everything outside his off-stump. Every time, except for once.

Butler forced the edge but the ball dropped awkwardly between skipper Stephen Fleming and Scott Styris and went past the third man boundary.

New Zealand decided to rest Jacob Oram and Daryl Tuffey for the match and began their bowling with Butler and Michael Mason with a packed off-side field. But with little help from the wicket, Fleming quickly replaced the latter with Styris after the sixth over.

First Published: Sep 26, 2003 11:21 IST