Indian and S African teams practise as rain threat ceases

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Chennai, Mar 23 (UNI) With the fear of rain Gods casting a spell again on the first of the three Test series between India and South Africa from March 26 having been allayed by the Met office here, the teams had good work out in seperate sessions under bright sun at the M A Chidambaram stadium here today.

While the Anil Kumble led team India, in the new grey coloured outfits instead of Blue hitherto went through rigorous work out in the morning, the Proteas led by Graeme Smith, sweated it out in the afternoon, amidst tight security.

Starry eyed young cricket fans too turned up to see their favourite players again on the field.

After the heavy downpours, there was bright sunshine today and the groundsmen were seen preparing the pitch and rolling it. The outfield also dried up and the ball is expected to move at a fast pace.

''The condition of the wicket will depend on the weather. As of now, it is a sporting wicket but it would become spin friendly as the match progresses'', curator Parthasarathy told UNI.

Even he heaved a sight of relief when informed that there was no forecast or further threat of rain playing the spoilsport to the Test.

Captain Graeme Smith was at the stadium by 2.30 pm and was seen jogging and stretching out while the other players in his team joined him later.

Paddy Upton, the mental conditioning coach of the squad, was seen interacting with each member of the team. The Indian players also batted and bowled.

Wicket-keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh, who were cleared for the series after fitness tests, were also seen undergoing the rigours training session.

Left-arm spinner Murali Kartik, who is out of the squad due to injury, was seen walking from the pavillion to the nets with his left leg wrapped in a bandage.

Meanwhile, the response to the Test by way of the sale of tickets was moderate with just 50 per cent of the season tickets being bought, two days before the Test match starts, according to the host Tamil Nadu Cricket Association(TNCA) sources.

UNI SNR VV RAR KN1832

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