The India vs Sri Lanka Twenty20 International in Guwahati has been abandoned due to a wet outfield and pitch. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
The year of the 20-20 is here. The World T20 will be played in Australia in 2020 after a gap of four years. It is the time when teams will be playing majority of Twenty20 Internationals in order to gear up for the marquee tournament in October. India will be playing a total of 15 Twenty20 Internationals under the tournament and it begins with their first match against Sri Lanka at Barsapara. What adds to the value of the series will be the return of India's ace pacer Jasprit Bumrah, who has not played any competitive cricket ever since being laid low by a stress fracture to his back after the tour of the West Indies. Bumrah's return will be a welcome boost to the Indian pace bowling stock that has been rotated effectively in the last couple of months.
22:00 hrs IST: The inevitable has happened. The game has been abandoned due to a wet outfield and a pitch. This will raise serious questions on Barsapara's hosting ability.
21:30 hrs IST: All the covers are off. But the patches near the bowler's run-up and on the pitch still remain. It will be a miracle if they dry out with just 16 minutes to go.
21:27 hrs IST: If the game gets abandoned due to a damp pitch, then serious questions will be asked about the effectivity of the groundstaff. Remember, Guwahati received rain even in the afternoon. Whatever damage took place happened in the first burst in the evening when there was hail as well.
21:15 hrs IST: We will have another inspection at 21:30 PM IST. That might probably determine the fate of the game. One feels, the best that can come out of this situation is the five-over shoot-out.
21:07 hrs IST: The cut-off time for a five-over shoot-out is 21:46 hrs IST. The wet patches are a serious concern.
21:02 hrs IST: The inspection time is here but the situation is becoming ludicrous. Apart from a vacuum cleaner, a hair dryer and a steam iron is being used now to dry the pitch.
20:57 hrs IST: We are five minutes away from the inspection. This will be the key as we have lost overs already.
20:46 hrs IST: The groundstaff are working feverishly to dry the damp patches as members of the Indian cricket team come out for some warm-up drills.
20:27 hrs IST: The rain has stopped and the pitch repair work continues. The 9:00 PM inspection is still on.
20:12 hrs IST: A vacuum cleaner is being used to dry the patches on the pitch. The groundstaff are working overtime now but the bad news is, the rain has started again in Barsapara. The covers are coming back onto the pitch.
20:09 hrs IST: Oh dear, apparently, the wet patches on the pitch have resulted in a delay. The inspection has been pushed back to 9:00 PM IST. This is slightly embarrassing.
20:05 hrs IST: A bit of water has seeped onto the pitch and that has not amused Kohli who has pointed it out to the umpires. Will this result in further delay?
19:57 hrs IST: There is an inspection at 20:15 hrs IST. The main cover has come off and the other covers are also coming off. There is still hope that there could be a full 20 overs game.
Update - It has stopped raining and we will have an inspection at 8.15 PM IST.— BCCI (@BCCI) January 5, 2020
Stay tuned #INDvSL
19:51 hrs IST: The rain has eased off in Barsapara and the umpires are having a look at the areas where the water has seeped into the outfield.
19:41 hrs IST: The rain had eased up but now it is raining steadily. The covers are firmly in place. It looks like a long delay indeed.
19:26 hrs IST: It is slightly drizzling at the moment. The supersoppers are doing their bit as they keep the water off the outfield. The drainage system in Barsapara is pretty good.
19:07 hrs IST: The rain has gotten heavier and according to the weather, this could last for close to an hour. However, we will not start losing overs until 8:30 PM IST. One hopes that the rain stops before that.
19:03 hrs IST: More covers are coming onto the pitch as the rain becomes heavier in Guwahati. The side covers are also coming on. This could be a slightly longer delay.
18:50 hrs IST: Uh oh! Not good news! It has started raining in Guwahati and the covers are coming on. One hopes it is a passing shower.
18:45 hrs IST: Here are the two teams. Bumrah and Dhawan are back while Sri Lanka will be relying on the likes of Kusal Perera and Avishka Fernando apart from Lasith Malinga.
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
18:34 hrs IST: India have chosen to bowl against Sri Lanka in Guwahati. Sanju Samson is still not playing for India. India have six bowling options.
18:17 hrs IST: There is a bit of haze at the Barsapara stadium. Dew could be a factor as the match progresses. There is also a threat of rain and that might force the teams to chase if they win the toss.
18:12 hrs IST: Australia, New Zealand, England and South Africa are playing a Test match while India will be the first to play the Twenty20 Internationals, the format which will be the flavour for all teams heading into the World T20.
17:57 hrs IST: Hello and a warm welcome to the first Twenty20 International between India and Sri Lanka from Barsapara, Guwahati. It is a new year and the start of a new decade. However, the first year of the decade is a World T20 year and it India's preparation, as well as that of Sri Lanka, begins now.