A total of only 23.4 overs have been bowled across three days due to rain, wet outfield and bad light. (Photo Credit: Twitter)
The Rawalpindi Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka was supposed to be a historic feat as it was the first Test to be played in Pakistan after more than a decade. However, after four days, this Test is in danger of being remembered for all the wrong reasons. After only 68.2 overs were possible on the first day, rain and wet outfield ensured that only 18.2 overs would be possible. On day 3, the situation deteriorated with only 5.2 overs possible due to rain, wet outfield and bad light. On day 4, the match scenario reached rock bottom as no play was possible at all and the day was abandoned just after the lunch break. When both the teams arrived at the ground, they were greeted with a familiar sight.
The covers were firmly in place as overnight rain combined with lack of sun ensured that the water could not be drained from the outfield in time for play to resume. The umpires had an inspection and the groundstaff were working very hard to ensure that the excess water could be drained off.
Speaking about the groundstaff, Sri Lankan commentator Roshan Abeysinghe focused on how Sri Lanka had laid the blueprint for ensuring that the ground would be ready in minutes despite heavy rain. "t's a technique (in Sri Lanka), they cover the entire ground. They cover it in a way that they just keep transferring the water, it comes to the edge of the boundary and they get rid of the water. And then the super-soppers come into play. Then you can get rid of all these areas and then the outfield is generally dry. That, we don't see here. I don't have to talk about the Sri Lankan groundsmen, they are the best in the world," Abeysinghe told the host broadcasters.
On day 3, umpire Michael Gough said due to the security situation, no official can come early and issue directions to the ground staff as to when the covers can be removed. "Because of security issues, nobody can get to the ground early. When we get to the ground and give some direction, it's a bit late. Looking at the forecast, it's one of those things where you sit tight, fingers crossed, and hope for some cricket at some point."
On the first day, a drizzle and bad light resulted in the loss of 22.5 overs. With only one third of the stipulated 270 overs being bowled on all the three days, it looks very difficult for a result in this match. However, the weather forecast for Rawalpindi is fair for the upcoming two days. After the end of this match, Sri Lanka will travel to Karachi for the second and final Test which will be part of the ICC World Test Championship.