Torrential rain and thunderstorms brought havoc to Sydney on Wednesday and washed out the opening day of India’s warm-up match against a Cricket Australia XI, as their preparations for the Test series took a hit.
The heaviest rain seen in the city in three years swept in during the early hours of the morning, causing transport chaos on the roads and at the airport, making it unlikely from well before the scheduled start that the players would get on at the SCG.
The skies briefly cleared during the afternoon and the umpires went as far as confirming that there would be a toss at 3.30pm local time, with an aim to start at 4pm. But shortly after that announcement, the rain returned.
However, the fact that they did hope to start for a short while was an indication of how well the SCG outfield had coped with the huge volume of rain – more than month’s worth fell in little over 90 minutes in the morning – and offered encouragement that if the weather clears for the second day, play will not be impacted.
The forecast was better for Thursday, although there was still a 50% chance of showers, before the weather settles down on Friday and Saturday. It could, therefore, mean that India will have little more than two days of time in the middle to prepare for the opening Test in Adelaide.
It had already been confirmed that this would not be a first-class fixture, in order to enable India to use as many of their squad as they wanted, so they may now have to get creative to make the most of the remaining time in the match. Wednesday’s play had been added at the request of the BCCI, after the match was originally scheduled to be a three-day encounter, with the board hoping to find time for a second warm-up match.
India, as with most touring sides these days, have had limited build-up to their recent series in South Africa and England, and lost the first two matches of both series, before securing victories in the third games, at Johannesburg and Trent Bridge respectively.
India have a number of selection issues to resolve before the first Test – their opening combination, whether they play a sixth specialist batsman, and the make-up of their pace attack.