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TNCA 'confident' of hosting fifth Test between India and England despite cyclone

Cyclone Vardah swept through Chennai on Monday, four days before it was set to host the fifth Test between India and England AFP

The fifth Test between India and England is likely to go ahead as scheduled in spite of Mumbai's Brabourne Stadium having been placed on standby.

The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association confirmed that cyclone Vardah, which swept through Chennai on Monday, damaged some stadium property but did not unduly affect the pitch and outfield at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.

Both teams' training schedules for Wednesday were, however, cancelled as the ground was unfit. The Test match is scheduled to begin on Friday.

"Both teams have been informed about this and they have agreed," Kasi Viswanathan, the secretary of the TNCA, told The Hindu.

The pitch, the paper noted, was left dry as the covers, tied to iron poles. stayed intact despite gusts of up to 100mph on Monday. Although there were wet patches across the outfield, Viswanathan was confident that the drainage system at the ground was capable of clearing the wet surface quickly.

"There is a lot of work to be done, but we are taking it up on a war footing. We are confident the match will start on time," Viswanathan said.

"The assuring part is that the pitch and the outfield has not been affected by the cyclone," he told PTI. "But sightscreen has been damaged. The bulbs have blown off, air conditioners damaged.

"There have been hundreds of tree trunks lying in the road leading up to the stadium. Our challenge is to set everything in order in the next two days. I am confident we will be able to set everything right.

Viswanathan also confirmed that the three stands of the stadium that have been locked by the Chennai Corporation for the last four years over a dispute with the TNCA would remain closed during the Test match.

Both teams flew into Chennai on Tuesday, as per schedule, despite the airport having been closed until 9pm on Monday evening. They flew over miles of flooded agricultural land, and arrived in a city that was still experiencing power cuts and flooding in low-lying areas.