Guwahati, Jan 5: The first Twenty20 International between India and Sri Lanka was abandoned without a ball begin bowled due to wet outfield and dampness in the pitch on Sunday (January 5) at the Barsapara Cricket Ground in Guwahati.
No sooner than India captain Virat Kohli won the toss and invited the visiting captain Lasith Malinga to bat first, the skies opened up and delayed the start of the play. The rain kept playing hide and seek at the venue as it kept returning from time to time.
Eventually, after the cut-off time for a five-over game i.e. 9:46 pm passed the match officials called off the game.
The ground staff did their best to get rid of the damp spots in the pitch prevented the match officials from starting the game. The ground staff used irons and hair dryers to dry the pitch up but to no avail. Spectators entertained themselves with a mass singalong while waiting for news of pitch inspections before a final decision was announced shortly before 10 pm local time.
The second game in the three-match series is scheduled for Tuesday (January 7) at the Holkar Stadium in Indore.
India and Sri Lanka were supposed to start their campaign in the new year 2020 with the three-match T20I series. Both the teams were raring to start the new year's first assignment with a win. India quick Jasprit Bumrah and left-handed opener Shikhar Dhawan were making their comebacks after recovering from injuries.
Team India are coming from back-to-back series wins against Bangladesh and West Indies, while Sri Lanka's last performance in the shortest format when they faced Pakistan in the latter's backyard, would give them a lot of confidence to do well against India.
India must be bolstered by the return of pacer Jasprit Bumrah and senior opener Shikhar Dhawan for the series having recovered from their respective injuries. While Sri Lanka will be upbeat with the induction of senior-pro Angelo Mathews in the side.
The opening T20I between India and Sri Lanka will be an interesting one as the two teams are facing each other in this format after a long gap.
Here's how the action unfolded in Guwahati:
The cut-off time of 9:46 PM for a 5-over game has passed. It seems it's all over. But there is no official update yet.
Update: Umpires arrive in the middle to inspect the pitch and it seems they are not happy. They return after a couple of minutes.
The one good news is that all the covers are off. Aakash Chopra on TV says that "the patches are still there. There are still some soft spots near the bowlers' run ups."
Next inspection at 9:30 PM. The cut-off time for a 5-over game is 9:46 PM.
The hair dryer and steam iron are being used now to dry the pitch. The umpires are still not pleased with the dampness on both the ends of the track and we could be in for another delay.
Update at 8:29 PM: Fans report from the stadium that rain has stopped. Pitch repair work in progress in Guwahati.
Latest Update: Fans from Guwahati inform Mykhel that the rain is back and the covers are being drawn out. An extra layer of the cover is being put on the pitch to prevent it from getting dampened.
Update: Umpires to inspect the ground at 9 PM IST as Virat Kohli wasn't pleased with the dampness in the pitch.
Umpires to inspect the ground at 8:15 IST.
Good news! The two umpires are making their way out to the middle for an inspection of the ground conditions. They're consulting with the groundstaff. Covers are coming off. The super-soppers are drying the outfield.
The rain is getting heavy in Guwahati and the frustration continues.
Shikhar Dhawan: Lots of injuries last year, but it's part and parcel of the game. It's a new year, looking forward to a new start. I always take things in a positive manner. Injuries are natural, just take them in my stride. Looking forward to score lots of runs this year, be a more impactful player, win matches for my team and win the World Cup. This series is a good opportunity for me to score runs. Am always developing my game, developing new shots.
The intensity of rain has reduced a bit. It's more of a mild drizzle now but it needs to stop completely for a brisk resumption.
People from Guwahati inform Mykhel that it is pouring heavily and the match might get further delayed.
Update: It has started raining in Guwahati and covers have been drawn out to cover the pitch.
Sri Lanka (Playing XI): Danushka Gunathilaka, Avishka Fernando, Kusal Perera(w), Oshada Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka, Isuru Udana, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lahiru Kumara, Lasith Malinga (C).
India (Playing XI): Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Virat Kohli(c), Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant(w), Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini, Jasprit Bumrah.
Malinga: Happy to bat first. Don't think the track will change too much. We have prepared well and will want to put it into performances. Need to put runs on the board and then take it from there. We have brought 16 players as we need to finetune our combination for the World Cup. Three seamers and two spinners for us. Need five genuine bowlers to put pressure on India.
Kohli: We're gonna bowl first. We haven't played here in a while. The last time we played here, we chased well. The game we played prior to that against Australia, they chased well too. The track does play differently in the second half as compared to the first part. It's a good thing actually, there isn't too much of a difference in conditions, except that the track settles down better later on with the wet ball. Last year was outstanding for us in two formats, T20s not so much. Good thing though is that we have a World Cup coming up and we'll be taking things more seriously. Pandey, Samson, Chahal and Jadeja aren't playing. Kuldeep and Washington because of their left-handers and we have three seamers.
Sunil Gavaskar and Murali Kartik come up with the pitch report: "There are plenty of cracks. This is not a pretty-looking pitch. I don't think batsmen will have it that easy. Yes, there will be runs as it's T20 but there will be help for spinners. It is a bit tacky. Captains will want to chase because he doesn't want dew to affect his bowlers. Also, he wants to know the target."
Kuldeep and Washington are bowling on the side wicket. Chahal isn't working too much on the ground, looks like he's not getting a match today as well.
"Shardul and Bumrah, Saini are marking their run-ups. Is Team India going to field 3 pacers?