Not a ball was bowled in Team India’s first international fixture of the year as unseasonal thunderstorm, coupled with heavy rain and shoddy pitchcovering, led to a damp pitch at Barsapara Cricket Stadium.
The three-match T20I series now moves to Indore. Virat Kohli won the toss and chose to field. However, rain arrived soon after the toss and that sent the spectators scurrying for cover. The downpour continued for one hour three minutes from 6:47 pm to 7:50 pm to leave puddles in the outfield.
Not the news that we would want to hear, but the 1st T20I between India and Sri Lanka has been abandoned due to rai… https://t.co/0w7URqa8FF
— BCCI (@BCCI) 1578241678000
Pressing the two supersoppers into action while the downpour reduced to a drizzle, the groundsmen worked hard to get the turf ready for the venue’s third international tie. However, poor quality of covers over the main pitch area led to water seeping through the layers of tarpaulin and making the popping crease at Rolling Mill End wet.
On-field umpires C Shamshuddin, Nitin Menon and TV umpire Anil Chaudhary, who inspected the area, immediately made their displeasure known. Kohli, too, was far from satisfied after seeing the wet patch on the popping crease, prompting the Assam Cricket Association (ACA) to employ a vaccum cleaner and hair-dryer in an effort to dry up the area.
Despite trying for one-and-a-half hours, the groundsmen could not dry up the wet patches. The umpires finally called off the match at 9.46 pm, even though the rain had stopped nearly two hours before. It was poor advertisement for the ACA. “The official reason for the match being called off is rain. Till nine o’ clock there were two spells of heavy showers that did not allow the ground to be ready,” ACA secretary Devajit Saikia said.
Saikia refused to accept responsibility for the abandonment. He stated that he had not yet spoken to the curator. This will surely not go down well with the Indian cricket board (BCCI) as this is the second time the ACA has been found wanting. Former cricketer Akash Chopra, who was on commentary duty, termed the gaffe as a “schoolboy error”.