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Bristol ODI: Rain washes out Ind-Eng ODI series opener

The first of the five One-Day Internationals (ODI) between India and England to be played at the County Ground here Monday was cancelled due to heavy rain

Bristol: The first ODI of the five-match series between India and England was today abandoned without a ball being bowled due to relentless rains and wet ground conditions.

At the Gloucester County Ground, the match officials decided to call off the five-match series opener at 1.30 pm local time following heavy showers. The forecast for the match was never good and it started raining late on Sunday night, and it didn't stop even for a until morning. The rain did subside for a 20-30 minutes, only to pour down with greater intensity thereafter and never relented for even a moment.

Fans wait for the start of the One-Day International (ODI) match between England and India, which was washed out due to rain, at the County Ground in Bristol, south-west England, on Monday. Pic/AFP

The groundsmen though weren't the ones to give up in a hurry. The whole square had been under covers since morning but they were busy clearing up rain-water. Three super soppers were put in to service but they would have been useful only if the rain had stopped.

The ground staffs' efforts proved even more futile when puddles started forming on the outfield, signaling that the drainage was now getting choked.

The last cut-off time for the match to start was 3.45 pm local time (8.15 pm IST). For that the grounds staff needed atleast an hour before that to dry off the field for suitable playing conditions to prevail.

The last cut-off for that was stipulated to be 2 pm local time (6.30 pm IST), but about thirty minutes before that, the umpires walked onto the field and inspected the conditions. 

After observing the water accumulated on the covers as well as the heavy puddles on the outfield, the umpires finally decided to call off the game. It was always inevitable given that this entire week's forecast is for wet weather.

It was a cause for much disappointment to the sparse crowd that had gathered at the ground, taking advantage of the summer bank holiday here in England.

Bristol is a regular feature on England's fixture-list since the 1999 World Cup, with 13 ODIs played here after the first one in 1983. However this 14th match was the first time a game has been abandoned here.

India have played here before -- against Kenya in the afore-mentioned World Cup, against Sri Lanka in the 2002 Natwest tri-series and against England in the ODI series of the 2007 tour. And interestingly, the Men in Blue have won all the three games here.

The second ODI of the five-ODI rubber will be played in Cardiff on Wednesday. The weather forecast for the second ODI isn't too good either as intermittent showers expected throughout Wednesday. England had won the five-match Test series 3-1 after India took the lead at the historic Lord's. 

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