RAWALPINDI              -          The fourth day of the first Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka was called off without a ball being bowled due to rain and poor light on Saturday.

It was utter disappointment for the spectators, who came to the Rawalpindi Stadium early morning to avoid security issues. Rain was although stopped at around 11:00am, but the floodlights were off and covers were still on the ground, which was a clear indication that the fourth day’s play will be called off any moment. The same happened at around 11:30am, when the PCB officials informed the sports journalists in the media centre that the match referee and umpires have decided to call off the day’s play due to the reason that it is impossible to start the play even at the later stages of the day.

Both the teams had realised the situation, so they did not even move from their hotels, rather they enjoyed the rainy weather. Pakistan Test captain Azhar Ali was singing the song ‘Dil Dil Pakistan’, while the fielding coach was playing guitar. Opener Shan Masood was also helping the skipper in singing the national song, which was later on everybody’s lips. The sources further confirmed to this scribe that hotel employees were also enjoying with the Pakistani players. Some Sri Lankan players and officials were also roaming around and enjoying the festivity away from the ground.

While talking to The Nation from the stadium, majority of locals said that the PCB should have considered weather forecast, allocated first Test to Karachi and conducted the second match at the Rawalpindi Stadium, as weather forecast for next week is clearly indicating good playing conditions.

An unfortunate incident was also occurred outside the main entrance, where official match scorers Shakeel Ahmed, Adnan Farooq and Zeeshan were stopped by some security officials. Shakeel, who is a senior scorer, informed the security officials that he is covering the match daily and his presence in the stadium is very necessary, but the officials were not in a mood to allow him. When the things were getting out of hands, PCB Media Operations Officer Shakeel Khan came to the rescue and sorted out the issue. If the match had started in time, then who was to be held responsible for the non-availability of the scorers? The police officials deputed at different entry points must understand the sensitivity of the issue. Even sports journalists had to face similar problems at the hands of the police officials. It is hoped that the PCB will take up the issue with senior police officers to avoid such things in future.

Majority of stands are closed down due to construction and maintenance purposes. Despite the fact that the spectators, mainly families and old people, cannot sit on the cement stairs in such cold weather, the ground manager and his team members did not bother to pay any heed towards the issue. Foreign as well as local sports journalists had to climb stairs to reach the media centre, as the lift was not operational. The PCB must seek explanation from the stadium’s administration and take into account all the issues. We hope that the things will be much better during the Bangladesh Test and PSL-5.

 

Scorecard

SRI LANKA 1ST INNINGS:

(OVERNIGHT: 282-6):

Dimuth Karunaratne lbw b Shaheen 59

Oshada Fernando c Haris b Naseem 40

Kusal Mendis c Rizwan b Usman 10

Angelo Mathews c Asad b Naseem 31

Dinesh Chandimal b Abbas 2

Dhananjaya de Silva not out 72

Niroshan Dickwella c Babar b Shaheen 33

Dilruwan Perera not out 2

D de Silva not out 87

N Dickwella c Babar b Shaheen Afridi 33

D Perera not out 6

EXTRAS: (b 5, lb 6, nb 3) 14

TOTAL: (6 wkts, 91.5 overs) 282

FOW: 1-96, 2-109, 3-120, 4-127, 5-189, 6-256.

BOWLING: Mohammad Abbas 24-9-56-1, Shaheen Shah Afridi 22-7-58-2, Usman Shinwari 15-4-54-1, Naseem Shah 24.5-5-83-2, Haris Sohail 3-0-12-0, Shan Masood 1-1-0-0, Asad Shafiq 2-0-8-0.

PAKISTAN: Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq, Mohammad Rizwan, Usman Shinwari, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi.

TOSS: Sri Lanka

UMPIRES: Richard Kettleborough, Michael Gough

TV UMPIRE: Richard Illingworth

MATCH REFEREE: Andy Pycroft