Wet pitches scupper Australia's practice
Australia's preparations for the third ODI in Delhi, already blighted by several injuries, were further disrupted when they arrived at the Feroz Shah Kotla for a net session and found the practice pitches wet and "completely unusable". The curator said he was not aware the team was training at 9.00 am and had watered the pitches, leaving Ricky Ponting infuriated and Australia restricted to a light net session and fielding drills.
"When we turned up this morning, for some reason the practice wickets had been watered, so we haven't had a chance to train really today," Ponting said.
Apparently the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) had no idea the Australian team would come to train at 9 am. The media, though, was informed of the team's plans. Vijay Bahadur Mishra, the curator at the Kotla, said he was not expecting the team that early. "We were told both the teams would come at 2 pm and train together." There are only four practice pitches at the ground, though, and it would have been difficult for two international teams to train simultaneously.
"[I am] very disappointed. It seems everybody in the world other than the grounds man here today knew that we were training at 9 this morning," Ponting said. "To turn up here and find the wickets completely unusable is disappointing. We only had one training day, and I am sure by the time the Indian team comes down here, the wickets will be fine. So it's a bit of a disadvantage for us."
Australia could definitely have done without this fiasco: James Hopes and Brett Lee are not yet fit to play, and Graham Manou, the replacement keeper for Tim Paine, was due to arrive only on the afternoon of the eve of the match.
Sidharth Monga is a staff writer at Cricinfo