Weather holds key to second ODI too

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Kochi, Sep 30 (UNI) The shadow of rain God will be haunting Team India and Australia, whose hopes of snatching the psychological advantage with an early win in the seven-match ODI series were dashed by sudden downpour in Bangalore, as they arrive late in the evening for the second match here on October two.

Contacted by UNI, Joint Coordinator of the One Day International Match Organising Committee P V Shirajuddin, said there was every hope that the game would not be disrupted. ''It's raining right now in Thrissur where I am but I understand there is no rain in Kochi, which means match will be there'', he said.

The host KCA is expecting a full house like the five ODI matches at the 70,000 capacity Nehru stadium here having sold out all the tickets allotted through Banks. ''The gallary tickets have not been sold fully yet. We have opened two counters today and tomorrow at the stadium itself. We expect a full house'', Mr Shirajuddin added.

As per the present schedule, the teams would be at the ground for nets by 0800 hrs tomorrow, informed Mr Shirajuddin.

The curator Ramachadran when contacted said the pitch and the ground conditions have been approved by member BCCI Pitches Committee Tapos Chatterjee. The BCCI had initially not approved the ground. ''But now a good wicket has been prepared and the heavy outfield which was badly drenched due to three months of heavy rains, has dried'', he said, adding there was no problem about the ground now.

The Indians, dogged by the hamstrung injury to former captain Sourav Ganguly, who is to undergo a scan today, and the Aussies are scheduled to arrive at 1900 hrs from Bangalore.

The Aussies come here with bad memories of their 1998 loss to India, when Kochi hosted its first ever ODI. For India the Nehru stadium has been the proverbial happy hunting ground with victories over South Africa(2002), Zimbabwe(2002), Pakistan(2005) and England (2006).

UNI

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