Melbourne : India will have to go into the first Test against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Boxing Day (Dec 26) with little match preparation after they suffered a second wash-out in as many days in their three-day tour match against Victoria here Friday.
With more rain forecast, it seems certain they will get little or no play Saturday as well.
After play at the Junction Oval was abandoned at 3.30 p.m., the frustrated tourists quickly packed up and took the team bus to the MCG to get some net time in the Bill Lawry indoor complex.
“They’ve been using the MCG indoor facility over the last two days, but God forbid we don’t get any match tomorrow, then we’ll have to go back there,” team media manager M.V. Sridhar said.
Sridhar conceded the wet weather was untimely and made for a difficult preparation, but said the team remained upbeat.
“It’s definitely not an ideal (build-up), but maybe we brought the rain all the way from India,” he said.
“But the good part is that the entire team looks nice and fit. There is nothing like match practice, but fortunately most of the boys are in good nick, they’re not really lacking in cricket, they’re coming off a long series (against Pakistan in India), so (the rain) really isn’t affecting anyone. They’re all in a very good frame of mind.”
Sridhar said there had been initial discussion about extending the game to a fourth day but it was decided to leave the schedule as it was, using the MCG or the Junction Oval to get in as much practice as possible.
“If it doesn’t rain tomorrow and then it’s fit enough for the day after, maybe we’ll have some practice on the wicket,” he said.
Only 10 overs were bowled Thursday and just 48 have been sent down in total in the only game the tourists have to acclimatise before facing the World No. 1 Test team on its home patch, chasing its 15th consecutive win.
Before the delayed start Thursday, the Indian players, for the second day in a row, found themselves having Aussies rules football kicking lessons to fill in time.
However the sum total of cricket Friday equated to a fourth wicket in the innings to Victorian left-arm paceman Allan Wise with the dismissal of Sourav Ganguly for 59 and just 23 runs added to India’s interrupted first innings at 133 for four.
The only Indian batsman who has had any decent centre-wicket practice is opener Rahul Dravid, who has stonewalled through the entire 203 minutes of playing time, to gather an unbeaten 38.