New Delhi: The extent of damage caused by rains to the 22-yard strip at the Airforce Palam ground was evident with fourth day`s play of the Ranji Trophy semi-final between Services and Mumbai called off without a ball being bowled despite bright sunshine throughout the day on Saturday.
The city witnessed a hailstorm on Thursday night, which was followed by intermittent rains till yesterday evening.
However, since Saturday morning there was bright sunshine but the best efforts of the groundsmen in presence of chief curator Daljit Singh wasn`t good enough as the dampness in the pitch couldn`t be reduced substantially in order to at least sneak an hour`s play.
The umpires Subrat Das and Adrian Holdstock called off play at 3:50 pm. Mumbai were 380 for six at stumps on the second day.
If the loss of 180 overs augurs well for minnows Services, who would like to register another upset win, the 39-time champions are in a tricky situation as they now need to alter their gameplan.
"It depends on when the match starts tomorrow. If we get 180 overs of play in the next two days (there is a provision for sixth day), a result is definitely possible," a worried coach Sulakshan Kulkarni told mediapersons today.
When asked about a chance that fate of the match may be decided by spin of coin if one innings of both teams are not completed after sixth day, Kulkarni replied, "We are not looking that far ahead."
Kulkarni said that the groundsmen did their job admirably.
"They tried their best to start the match with whatever resources that was available. But then one can`t control the weather. But we are the Mumbai team and these things like delay can`t frustrate us. We know that we are 39-time champions," the former Mumbai glovesman said with a customary arrogance that one associates with the domestic heavyweights.
First Published: Saturday, January 19, 2013, 18:37