Bangalore: A sudden heavy downpour Friday forced England to abandon their practice session at the National Cricket Academy ground for Sunday's high-profile World Cup clash with hosts India.
Typical English weather greeted the players when they walked into the venue for a two-hour session at the nets, with sunshine and clouds playing hide and seek, even as a cool breeze wafted through the ground, which is located adjacent to the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium where the Group B match will be played.
By the time the rain started playing spoilsport, half the 16-member English team led by skipper Andrew Strauss bowled and batted, with Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Graeme Swann and Eoin Morgan waiting for their turn to pad-up and take the crease.
Meanwhile, England coach Andy Flower and seamers Stuart Broad and James Anderson visited the stadium for a close look at the pitch and the outfield, which was quickly covered by the groundsmen.
"It's very unusual to have rains in Bangalore during the spring season. We have taken all precautions to protect the pitch and the outfield from such weather conditions," an official of the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) told IANS at the stadium.
Hoping for rain-free weather over the next two days, curator Narayan Raju said the pitch was safe as it was fully covered and steps have been taken to cover as much of the outfield as possible.
"We are praying to the rain gods to hold back till Sunday night. The pitch has been prepared for batsmen as well as seamers. We expect the pitch to turn as the game progresses," Raju said.
The pitch was re-laid in accordance with ICC norms for all the five World Cup matches being played in Bangalore over the next four weeks.