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Rain prevents any play on third day

With more wet weather forecast and West Indies still 246 behind India’s first-innings tally, a result looks unlikely in third Test

At 1.45pm on a wet afternoon in Gros Islet, umpires Nigel Llong and Bruce Oxenford went out to the middle at the Darren Sammy Stadium rather optimistically, umbrellas doing little to shield them from the pouring rain. The third day’s play of the third Test between India and West Indies was then called off on Thursday (August 11) without a ball being bowled.
West Indies could not add to its overnight 107 and India’s pursuit of the remaining nine first-innings wickets had to wait another day. This left an already slow moving Test stuck with West Indies trailing by 246 runs, and an outright result extremely unlikely.
India arrived in the West Indies looking to win each of the four Test matches it was to play, and after dominating in St John’s to inflict an innings defeat, hopes of at least recording more than one Test win in a series – India has never managed this in the West Indies in the past – had risen. However, four sessions of play were lost in the third Test in Kingston as Tropical Storm Earl passed close to Jamaica. Even though the storm did not directly strike land in Kingston, the resultant weather pattern dumped enough precipitation on the area to cause a significant loss in time.
India, which had been in control till rain stopped play 15.5 overs into the fourth day, was on a roll, blasting out the West Indian top order. But, in what Virat Kohli called a classic example of the role momentum plays in cricket, especially Test cricket, the break gave West Indies a chance to regroup and fight back.

It was Jermaine Blackwood who showed the way, counter-attacking in style. Although he did not last too long, his innings gave Roston Chase the inspiration to defy India with a superb unbeaten century, his first in only his second Test. Chase got excellent support from Shane Dowrich, the wicketkeeper, and Jason Holder, the captain.
Coming into the third Test, India rang in the changes, and it nearly backfired on it after it was reduced to 87 for 4. R Ashwin and Wriddhiman Saha then scored fighting rearguard centuries to push India to 353. West Indies had begun its reply well when the rain gods decided to intervene.
The loss of an entire day’s play, with the potential for more showers over the remaining two scheduled days of play, meant that India’s chances of closing out the series dwindled with every passing hour. West Indies will be only too happy to go into the final Test, at Port of Spain in Trinidad from August 18, trailing only 0-1 down.
If the weather was terrible for cricket, it was a treat to watch, first thing on Thursday morning. The action began at a little past 6am. First lightning struck, tongues of bluish-white streaking through cloud-laden heavy skies as the sun struggled to penetrate through the blanket of grey that had settled over the green canopy of trees that dominate the tropical island. Then came thunder, unbelievably loud claps, increasing in frequency, the gap between booms decreasing, suggesting that the storm was moving towards Gros Islet rather than away.

The storm, a typical tropical occurrence, was a spectacular sound and light show to begin with, but as soon as the pyrotechnics began to recede came the real damage to the prospects of cricket being played. Big fat droplets of rain fell steadily, unhindered by wind of any kind, soaking the soil till it could take no more, pooling in puddles and eventually running down the hills in mini brooks that did not exist only hours before.
The Indian team took an early call not to leave its hotel for the stadium, because there was little point in changing venues merely to watch the rain fall. Eventually, both teams were present when lunch was taken, at the scheduled time of 12 noon, with the whole of the morning session being washed out.
With the rain abating briefly, groundsmen took a peek under the covers, to be pleasantly surprised at the good shape the playing surface was in, but just as soon as they had the drizzle resumed, steadily developing into an out-and-out downpour.
The rain was relentless, and heavy, and despite being desperate not to call off the game when there was still the slimmest hope of getting some play in, the umpires were left with no choice at 1.45pm. Even if the rain stopped the very next minute, there was no way the water that had collected on the outfield could be cleared in time for a start before the scheduled close of play.
India and West Indies will hope for better on the fourth day, but the forecast is for more of the same, even if it is not as intense.

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