India v Australia, 3rd Test, Feroz Shah Kotla October 28, 2008

Australia prepared for Delhi smog

Cricinfo staff

The Australians have tried getting used to the smog during their practice sessions © Getty Images

Australia are prepared for a smoggy start to the crucial third Test starting on Wednesday due to the expected lingering smoke from the Indian festival of Diwali. Fireworks and firecrackers are a major feature of the "festival of lights" and if the weather is overcast on the morning of the match, which it has been for the past couple of days, the haze could lead to a delay.

"If it is like it was yesterday [Monday] or worse we might be starting late," Ricky Ponting said. "By the time we got down to the ground, which was 9.30am, it was still touch and go whether you would start on time. If it is smoggy in the morning I don't think there is really much you can do about it. I don't think it will really change the way the game is played."

India lead the four-match series 1-0 and Australia might have to force the pace if there are too many disruptions. "Tomorrow [Wednesday] might be an exceptional day as well with all the haze hanging around from the fireworks tonight," he said. "We will assess that as we go and if it does get to the stage where we need to do things differently, to take in calculations about losing some time and some light, then we will do that to try and force a result."

The Australians have altered their training to cope with the haze, particularly with their fielding. "We made the guys do a lot of high balls," Ponting said. "Brad Haddin started off doing high balls and said it was definitely different to catch the ball - harder to pick up and judge things - so all the guys made sure they got that work done."

The third Test was originally scheduled to start on Tuesday but was pushed back a day so the match did not begin on Diwali, which is a public holiday. Ponting is also wary of the potential for bad light to shorten the match.

"It has been getting dark quite early as well, but then I noticed last night that it held out a bit longer and we could have been playing easily at five o clock," he said. "We will factor that sort of stuff in if the first few days of the game are going that way."