Fashionable as it might be to propagate the ‘weather at this time of the year in this part of the world’ theory, it must be kept in mind that this is only the second full day’s play to have been lost at a Test match in Galle, the only previous instance being on September 25, 1999, day four of a Sri Lanka-Australia encounter.
Sri Lanka’s designs of building on their day-one tally of 256 for two had been effectively thwarted by numerous spells of heavy precipitation, including one sustained burst from 4.00 am, and another killer lashing just beyond the scheduled start on Monday.
Curator Jayananda Warnaweera and his tireless hundreds of ground staff put their best foot forward despite the impediments thrown up by the unseasonal rains, and had appeared to have set the stage for an eventual start in the post-tea session, given that the umpires had set a 2.30 pm timeline for the first official inspection of the day.
That decision prompted the phone call that ferried the Indians to the ground from their faraway hotel. The Sri Lankans had arrived at the ground earlier in the morning in the hope that somehow, play would start at some stage, but the Indians, it seemed, had the inner track on the weather as they stayed put in the hotel until a call from coach Gary Kirsten sent them scurrying to the team bus and on the long drive to the stadium.
Hardly had the Indians arrived than the heavens opened up with telling finality, leaving Warnaweera and his staff totally frustrated and helpless. The plethora of grey and green strips that bathed the ground in its entirety and prevented the water from damaging any part of the playing arena was back in full force, battened down by several tyres placed on top as insurance against gusting winds that are such a common feature here.
Sri Lanka will have more reason to rue the loss of the entire 90 overs than India, what with there being no doubts over who had the better share of the exchanges on the first day. India’s bowlers, under the cosh on Sunday, will have had a chance to reassess their options alongside bowling consultant Eric Simons; the loss of a full day might also have consigned this Test to a stalemate, though stranger things have happened in the past.
Yuvraj Singh made the most of the long drive to the ground by retiring to the indoor facility for a hit with Kirsten for company. Most of the rest put their feet up, had a cuppa and then boarded the bus for another long drive back, just about the only pieces of activity on a wretched, wretched day.
Wash-out days in India and Sri Lanka Tests.
*Dec 18, 1986 (Kanpur), 2nd day.
* Jul 17, 1993 (Kandy), 1st.
* Jul 19, 1993 (Kandy), 3rd.
* Jul 21, 1993 (Kandy), 4th.
* Jul 22, 1993 (Kandy), 5th.
*Nov 29, 1997 (Nagpur), 4th.
*Nov 30, 1997 (Nagpur), 5th.
* Dec 2, 2005 (Chennai), 1st.
* Dec 3, 2005 (Chennai), 2nd.
* Dec 4, 2005 (Chennai), 3rd.
* Jul 19, 2010 (Galle), 2nd.