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April 9, 2006
1:10pm India v England - Damp conditions force abandonment
Damp conditions at Guwahati meant that the only game of the series that was scheduled on a Sunday had to be called off without even a single ball being bowled.
Yesterday afternoon's downpour, accompanied by thunder, lightning and hail enveloped the ground with a soggy film. Even the efforts of the groundstaff, with a super-sopper and a helicopter being put to use, turned futile. Rudi Koertzen and AV Jayaprakash, the on-field umpires, conducted three inspections before deciding that the conditions were not fit, but had left it to the captains to decide whether they wanted to go ahead and play anyway. The contest was finally abandoned at 1:10pm local time.
Close to 1pm, ugly scenes erupted at the Nehru Stadium as the sun beat down. The crowd, which had waited all day in the hope of play beginning, grew restless and began throwing bottles onto the field. In sections of the stands banners, placards and newspapers were heaped together and burnt.
Some of the Indian players were tossing a tennis ball around on the outfield and they went off the field as the police were called in to try and control the spectators. This was greeted by a further volley of bottled both full and empty, some of which travelled about 50 yards, landing well inside the field of play.
On the eve of the game, a group of young cricket buffs held an exotic ritual by planting red and green chillies on the ground outside the Nehru Stadium, a ceremony conducted to invoke supernatural forces to keep the rains away. They and many more at Guwahati, which staged its last ODI around two-and-a-half years back, will have to brace themselves for another long wait.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Plays of the day from the fourth ODI between Australia and South Africa at the MCG