South Africa v India, 1st ODI, Johannesburg November 19, 2006

Rain has the final say

Match abandoned due to rain

The groundstaff were the only ones who had a busy afternoon as rain washed out the first ODI between South Africa and India © AFP

India's tour of South Africa got off to the dullest possible start as the first one-dayer at the Wanderers in Johannesburg was abandoned without a single ball being bowled. Torrential rains drenched the stadium all day and, when they finally abated just before 7pm local time, the groundstaff began mopping up operations. As soon as they contemplated removing the covers, though, the skies opened once more and put an end to the waiting and the uncertainty.

India, having lost their warm-up match against South Africa A by 37 runs, were keen to start the one-day series on a bright note, and Rahul Dravid, the captain, and Greg Chappell, the coach, had said as much. However, sitting around in the dressing-room waiting for the weather to clear only makes India's task harder.

The Indian team is no stranger to this in recent times, with rain having followed them to different parts of the world. A tri-series was washed out in Sri Lanka and rain marred the DLF Cup in Malaysia. The final of the Challenger Series, India's premier limited-overs domestic competition, was washed out too. This is just the latest instance of wet weather ruining the cricket.

With there being no provision for reserve days, this will now be a four-match series and, given that the forecast for the week doesn't look particularly good, the hope is that we will not witness a repeat when the teams travel to Kingsmead, Durban for the next game on November 22.

The opportunity lost will be rued by the South Africans as well. The pitch at the Wanderers has been a belter in recent times and it was here, in March, that South Africa pulled off that stunning chase of 435 against Australia. Today, though, there was little opportunity to see what the pitch looked like, with the covers barely coming off.

Shortly before 7pm the umpires for the match, Billy Doctrove and Brian Jerling, took the decision that everyone had feared they would. There wasn't enough time to complete 20 overs per team and they had little option but to declare the match abandoned.

Anand Vasu is assistant editor of Cricinfo