New Delhi: The heavy downpour last night along with a hailstorm blew away the pitch cover at the Airforce Ground in Palam, leaving the 22-yard strip on which the Ranji Trophy semi-final between Mumbai and Services is being played, wet.
The groundsmen realised in the morning that a lot of rainwater had seeped into the pitch. With steady downpour continuing throughout the day, even restoring the covers back has been of little help.
"There were three layers of pitch cover on the main strip and the covers were sufficiently nailed. But the ferocity of the hailstorm was such that we could do precious little. Even the match referee (B Kalyansundaram) sympathised with us. There was little that we could have done," a senior Services office-bearer said.
The third day`s play was called off due to the downpour.
The pitch didn`t have a chance of drying up as there was no sunshine today, but the problem will be as to what`s the extent of dampness and if that can be reduced if there is no rain on Saturday.
"The outfield won`t take much time to dry up as we have supersoppers ready. But about the pitch, it depends how quickly the dampness gets reduced. We are expecting that at least play will resume in the post-lunch session," he added.
The sightscreen, at one end, has also been badly damaged due to yesterday`s hailstorm. Mumbai were 380 for six at stumps on second day.