Visakhapatnam: The first day of the three-day fixture between India A and New Zealand A at the Port Stadium in Visakhapatnam was called off on Wednesday (August 28) without a ball being bowled due to a thunderstorm that began an hour before the scheduled start of play.
The build-up to the game witnessed bright sunshine, but Wednesday morning dawned dark and grey. With thunderstorms lashing the venue for the next two hours, the match officials decided to call off play even before the scheduled lunch interval at 11:30am.
Thunderstorms followed by gusting winds meant the outfield resembled a paddy field, and the covers brought in to protect the playing surface and the square were displaced. According to Andhra Cricket Association ground staff, the severity of the storm was such that no play would have been possible even had the rain relented before the lunch interval.
The weather did clear up shortly after play was called off, but with the drainage facility at the stadium - generally used for track and field events - being very basic, the damage couldn't have been undone. The ground staff felt it would take bright sunshine through the day and no further rains for any chance of getting the ground ready.
While the players hung around for a while hoping for some optimistic news, a number of fans tried to use the opportunity to get autographs and photographs. Unmukt Chand, who arrived in Visakhapatnam on Monday after playing for India Under-23 in the ACC Emerging Teams Cup in Singapore, was the biggest attraction and he obliged all requests.
The weatherman has predicted heavy rain over the next 24 hours, leaving the prospect of a prompt start on Thursday fairly bleak. However, if play does begin on time on day two, 98 overs are to be bowled with the afternoon session extended by 30 minutes.
Visakhapatnam hasn't been too kind to New Zealand teams, with the weather playing spoilsport every time the team has been scheduled to play a match here. The team's first tour game of the 2003 series against a Board President's XI at the ACA-VDCA Stadium was hampered by rain with just 84.5 overs being possible over three days.
In August 2012, both teams' preparations for the ICC World Twenty20 were hampered as the first T20 International between New Zealand and India was washed out without a ball being bowled. New Zealand A and India A will be hoping that trend doesn't spill over to this match too.