To paraphrase the journalist Laurie Oakes, when quoting an unnamed conservative politician about Tony Abbott's decision to award Prince Philip a Knighthood in the Order of Australia, it is hard to bugger up Australia Day but the Sydney weather did its best.

Near enough to 25,000 spectators at the SCG and around two million television viewers were kept waiting, frustrated and ultimately defeated by the stubborn showers that enveloped Sydney at precisely the wrong time for the showpiece ODI between Australia and India.

The shared national day - Australia Day and India's Republic Day - was reflected by the mix of the crowd. The Bill O'Reilly Stand was more or less packed with Indian supporters, and in the 16 overs that were possible, their noise and energy made for a vibrant atmosphere. When David Warner caught Ambati Rayudu in front of the stand, he ran towards the gathering to express his delight. He later signed autographs for the same group.

But that brief moment was one of all too few opportunities for the crowds to do anything other than talk, drink and try to retain a sense of good humour. The time spent twiddling thumbs allowed thoughts to return to June, when it was announced that this fixture was to be played in Sydney rather than Adelaide, the home of Australia Day fixtures - with the exception of 2013 due to Adelaide Oval's redevelopment - for more than 20 years.

This is, as Cricket Australia has never tired of reminding us, a unique summer, with the World Cup shrinking the time available for international fixtures and the number of home Test matches shrunk to as few as four for the first time since 1976-77, the last summer before the World Series Cricket split.

Deals and trades between CA and the states were thus even more labyrinthine than usual. Perth was the major loser, missing out on a Test match, while Brisbane has been notably skimmed over for limited-overs and World Cup fixtures. Adelaide kept its showpiece Test but, apart from an early season T20 against South Africa, will not see the Australian team in coloured clothing until the quarter-finals of the Cup - should the hosts do as is widely expected and qualify comfortably.

At the time these fixtures were announced - later than usual because CA negotiations with the BCCI over an India tour habitually take far longer and are resolved far closer to the summer than planning with any other touring side - plenty of angry voices were raised in South Australia about the loss of a day many in the state had come to regard as their own.

"We have built the best stadium in Australia, it is disappointing," the state's minister for sport, Leon Bignell, fumed. "CA didn't put one cent into the development. In an era of professionalism, cricket needs to grow up and get into the modern era, behave like a modern-day sporting organisation that allows us to capitalise on our $535 million expenditure and tourism potential that big games present at Adelaide Oval."

The public counter-argument raised by the CA chief executive James Sutherland was that in a summer of only four Test matches, other grounds needed to be better compensated in other formats. Perth in particular was bequeathed the final of the ODI triangular series, a fixture Adelaide has occasionally shared with Brisbane when it is not hosted by Sydney or Melbourne.

Sutherland's claim was rather hollowed out by the fact that the Australia Day fixture was not passed on to Perth but instead granted to Sydney, which in addition to the New Year's Test hosted a T20 and ODI against South Africa and another ODI against England before Australia Day brought India to the ground.

There have been rumours that the SCG, now that it has been furnished by a handsome new Bradman/Noble Stand, is a better corporate proposition for CA in terms of returns to be drawn from its boxes. It is also true that Adelaide's place in the spectrum is now complicated by the infiltration of football into the redeveloped ground, with cricket forced to split the responsibility for its upkeep and the profits it can bring in under the Orwellian title of the Stadium Management Authority.

So there was some irony in the fact that while on Saturday night Adelaide Oval was packed for a Big Bash League semi-final, proof of the new ground's ability to attract a mighty crowd in the January holiday season, Australia Day brought a soggy Sydney day and an attendance of 22,692 - many others scared off by the rain and ultimately proved right in their reticence.

The irony grew as indignant Adelaide residents relayed the fact that at the same time the SCG was shrouded in cloud and drizzle, the Oval was perfectly dry, and completely empty. Instead of gaining a financial windfall by taking the annual game on the national day to the biggest market in the country, CA has been left with the job of affording partial refunds to all those spectators who paid for the chance to watch the rain drops fall.

If Adelaide Oval's custodians had worried about the prospect of losing this fixture for future summers after a successful Sydney debut, they were quietly relieved. The weather ensured they have a better than even chance to regain the match in 2015-16 when the opponent will once again be - you guessed it - India.