That is that
The match is over. It has been called off. It is a draw. It seems to me that they have estimated or been told that by the time they get the ground ready, it will already be the mandatory hour. Be that as it may, a disappointing way to end a Test that was close enough for the teams to have a 60-40 chance of winning coming into the final day. Now the resemblances with the Chennai Test of 2004-05 are complete. Thanks for joining us. We will be back on Thursday.
Super soppers in action
Another hour lost
In the last hour they decided upon an inspection time because the rain had stopped, but it resumed drizzling before the inspection time. So the ground staff are back in their shed. It is perhaps time to count backwards. We now have a possible four-and-a-half hours of play left in the day. Let’s say it takes an hour for to get the ground ready once it stops raining. I would say we need a minimum of two hours for a result here. That means it needs to stop raining in the next hour and a half. Let’s make it an hour and 50 minutes because it can rain all it wants during the tea break.
Meanwhile here is a cricket-and-rain story from Shashank Kishore. Moral of the story: never trust a Highveld storm
I’d just entered Class X, a time in our lives when we were told board exams matter a great deal. It was the 2003 WC final, and India were in the midst of a humongous chase with Sehwag going great guns when it suddenly started to pour. Don’t think it was more than a 20-minute delay, but it was enough time for me to phone up five of my friends – each time I’d have to ask a parent to hand over the phone to my friend on the pretext of having doubts – and together we’d decided to bunk school the next day, a Monday. I was certain the match was going to blow over into a reserve day because something similar had happened at the 2002 Champions Trophy a few months earlier. So the plan was, all five of us will miss school, watch the game together and cook up a convenient reason the next day if it came down to that. Sadly, play resumed, Sehwag was run out courtesy Lehmann, the match ended in tears for all of us and we were back in school the next day.
Another half an hour gone, but here is some fresh good news from Nagraj Gollapudi. The super soppers are in action. We still have five-and-a-half hours left in the day’s play.
Meanwhile here is my cricket-and-rain story, but the rain didn’t happen at the cricket. It was the 1996 World Cup final, a day before my Class VII science exam. My parents and whole family had to go out of town, and they made a naïve assumption that I will study for the exam if not forced to.
From a young age, I harboured disregard for our education system and the exams, but I am sure I was not making a principled stance but only enjoying the final when I decided not to study. It was only after Arjuna Ranatunga had played that historic late-cut that my parents arrived. I feigned confidence when I said I was prepared for the exam. Inside, I knew I will have to be in the school early to secure crib notes.
I don’t know how I managed a healthy night’s sleep. I woke up to one of the darkest mornings I remember from my young life in small-town Rajasthan. It just poured and poured and poured sweet tears of joy. I somehow made it to the school but it rained so much the exam had been postponed.
Years later, I came across this song by Paul Kelly “Right Behind the Bowler’s Arm”. In that song he improvises on a Chinese proverb. It says, yes your days in this world are numbered, but the ones spent watching cricket don’t count. The song reminded me of that day. Your preparation time was limited, but the time spent watching cricket didn’t count.
I also remember feeling annoyed that I would have to eventually study for the exam.
Lunch over but not the rain
It is still raining, and the early lunch is taken. Remember we have lost only one-and-a-half hours so far. We still have six hours of play left. How much of it can the rain take off? I suspect India won’t mind a thee-hour jaunt with the option of shutting shop any time they wish to.
I have been asking around for interesting stories from rain delays and stoppages, and we will struggle to beat this one from Andrew Miller
I’d agreed to be an usher at a university mate’s wedding several months in advance of the date, thinking “a Saturday in August, what could possibly go wrong?” Some months later, it dawned on that that was going to be the same Saturday as the Ashes Test at Edgbaston, which made for a rather awkward conversation … that in truly cowardly fashion I completely avoided having.
Fortunately, the wedding itself was in Wolverhampton, a few miles outside of Birmingham, so I figured I’d try to wing it. Keep tabs on the sly, rush back if I had to, cobble something together from the end-of-day quotes if all else failed. In short, I was bricking it a touch, especially after a James Anderson five-for had put England (already 1-0 up) in command, meaning that the third day’s play was potentially the pivotal moment of the series.
So when I opened my curtains on that Saturday morning … oh joy of joys! An absolutely miserable deluge had blanketed the whole of Brum, and in those pre-drainage days, it meant a virtually guaranteed wash-out. It also meant that my friend’s big day had been ruined, as we all squelched through the puddles to pose for the soggiest wedding photos ever. But clearly, that was a small price to pay for a clear conscience.
Resemblances with the Chennai Test
AM has turned to PM but it is still raining in Nottingham. Even though today is not likely to be a washout, there are many similarities here with the Chennai Test of 2004-05. The side batting first bowled out cheaply. A healthy lead -141 in that case – conceded. But an improved performance in the third innings to not only make India bat again but set them 229. India were not certain of their opening combination a day before the match and went with Yuvraj Singh. During that match, Shane Warne went past Muthiah Muralidaran. During this match, Anderson went past Kumble. The day four then ended with a crisp boundary from Sehwag last ball. Yesterday Pujara crunched the last ball for four. It rained all day next day.
It is also an often spoken-about Test in Cricinfo because so many of future Cricinfo employees were there. I was finishing college. Anand Vasu, Siddhartha Vaidyanathan, Sriram Veera, Dileep Premachandran, George Binoy, Nitin Sundar, Siddarth Ravindran, Karthik Krishnaswamy, Gaurav Sundararaman were all there. Of course none of us knew each other then. Only two of them were working on the match. The funny thing is, every time we talk about that day in office, some new person pops up saying, “Hey I was there too.”
Damn. This just made me realise that’s one of the things I miss because of these Covid days.
Who is happier with the rain?
What else can we do but pontificate as it continues to rain? Whom does the rain suit more? I think as of now it suits England more because we have seen rain and overcast skies have conditions worse for the batters. But if it gets into the category where India don’t have to worry about a defeat and can still get a shot at the target, that scenario will worry England because this is a quick-scoring ground and India have Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja who can be promoted to bat in a nothing-to-lose scenario.
An on-and-off scenario can go either way. You could get two 20-minute sessions in which the batters don’t get any rhythm and two of them get out or you could get two 20-minute sessions in which bowlers don’t get into any rhythm and build-ups for a wicket and India score 35 runs. A lot of possibilities. Don’t go anywhere.
Dampener for all those who couldn’t sleep last night with anticipation. It is raining, and the forecast is iffy. I am optimistic we can get enough cricket for a result. Fingers crossed. But as of now it is raining. Stay tuned for updates.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo