Wet outfield forces the abandonment of fifth ODI

Australia lead the seven-match series 2-1

Wet outfield forces the abandonment of fifth ODI

As expected, the fifth one-day international between India and Australia was called off without a ball being bowled here at the Barabati stadium on Saturday.

The organisers had resigned to fact that play will not be possible given the slushy outfield that had been pounded by relentless rain over the past five days. Ironically enough, the sun came out briefly in the morning for the first time in four days but the damage caused over close to a week’s time was too huge to undo.   

On Friday, the eve of the match, Odisha Cricket Association had released a statement, indicating that match would not be possible. “We knew it (no play would be possible) yesterday itself but as per BCCI guidelines, we had to wait for umpires’ inspection to call off the match officially,” said OCA secretary Asirbad Behera. 

Umpires Nigel Llong, S Ravi and C Shamsuddin inspected the ground at 11.00 am and having a look at the soggy outfield and damp patches at several places, they decided to abandon the match. “After inspection, umpires in their report submitted that the outfield is not fit for play and no play is possible," Behera said.

The decision to call off the match had already been taken as neither team turned up at the ground. Anticipating further rains, the three-day practice match between touring West Indies and Uttar Pradesh CA scheduled here from October 31 has now been shifted to Mumbai. "Such is the condition of the ground that it would require about four days of sunshine to make it match-ready. The Board has already shifted the practice match to Mumbai,” added Behera.

This is the second match between the two sides that has been abandoned after the cancellation of a tie on October 27, 1996. As a result of washout, Australia go into the sixth match in Nagpur on October 30 with a 2-1 lead.

India’s chances of winning the series have become tougher now as they need to win both the remaining one-dayers to clinch the rubber. The fourth game in Ranchi too had been called off during India’s chase due to rains.    “It’s definitely positive being 2-1 up,” said Australian opener Aaron Finch, who made the trip from Bhubneshwar to complete media commitments. “We can’t control the weather, can we? So, whether it’s a five-match series or a seven-game series, it doesn’t matter.

The best team is still going to come out and win this series at the end of the day. We’ve still two games left. We’re very confident that we’re playing good cricket at the moment and I’m sure India as well,” he added.

“They were in a good position the other night (in Ranchi) when the game was called off, unfortunately. So I think it’s just a case of two games to go. It’s like a mini final series. India have to win two to win the series, we have to win one to win the series. So, that’s a position that we obviously are happy being in, being 2-1 up.

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