India v South Africa, 3rd ODI, Chennai November 21, 2005

Rains threaten to wash out Chennai ODI


The MA Chidambaram Stadium swathed in covers as rain lashes Chennai on the eve of the India-South Africa one-dayer © Getty Images

Rains lashing the city since the wee hours of Monday threatened to wash out the third one-day match between India and South Africa to be held at Chennai on November 22, as officials kept their fingers crossed and players were confined to hotel rooms.

Micky Arthur, South Africa's coach, inspecting the ground at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, said "It looks like the match will be rained off". However, N Srinivasan, the president of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association sounded optimistic saying the day-night tie could start on schedule if rains stopped by tonight. Soggy conditions prevailed at the Chidambaram Stadium although the turf and outfield had been covered. The Met Office has forecast rains at most places in the state, including the city, on the match day, following a depression in the Bay of Bengal.

Srinivasan, who too inspected the ground, said the groundsmen were well experienced in handling such situations. "We have equipment like the super sopper and all." The ground now has slopes to help the water drain unlike last year when the India-New Zealand one-dayer was called off due to waterlogging. The match is crucial for both teams as the five-match series is tied 1-1 after India came back strongly in the second match at Bangalore on Saturday with a six-wicket win.

Arthur told reporters, "It will be a tight series if the match is rained off." South Africa's coach, who seemed to be readying for a no-match situation here, however, said such a situation "will not dampen spirits of our boys who are professional players." Arthur said his players would muster all their resources to perform to the team's strategy and win the next two matches at Kolkata and Mumbai for South Africa's first-ever series win on Indian soil. The South Africans had lost all five series since 1991-92.