The warm-up opening match on India's tour of Australia turned out to be a damp squib, more so, in a literal sense. The three day tour match against Victoria which started off on Thursday, December 20th, 2007 at Junction Oval, Melbourne, saw only 48 overs being bowled before the match was abandoned due to incessant torrential rain, and declared as drawn, which did not do much good to either side. It could certainly not be called as an ideal beginning to such an important series between two of the best cricketing sides in the world.
After losing precious two-and-a half hours to constant downpours, Dhoni was called for toss, which India won and chose to go out in the field to pile up a healthy score against Victoria. Visitors, however, could not make much of an impression, losing the early wicket of Jaffer at a personal score of zero. Soon, VVS Laxman followed the suit, and edged one off to Wade on the leg side after contributing a single run to his side. Allan Wise had struck twice for Victoria, much in keeping with his brilliant record of taking wickets against international visitors. The cherry on his cake, however, came with his claiming the prized wicket of Sachin Tendulkar who seemed to be fin nick. He departed with a small cameo of 19 runs including a couple of exquisite boundaries. Ganguly took over from here and post-lunch, Dravid helped him build a 72-run partnership for the fourth wicket. Ganguly was the principal contributor in this partnership, reaching another half-century saturated with boundaries while Dravid preferred to be on the cautious side to bring in the much-desired element of stability in the innings. The ground conditions, however, worsened with continuing thundershowers until it became practically impossible to continue the play and the day was closed as India ended at the cricket score of 110 for the loss of 3 wickets. With more rain expected for the second and third days, the fate of the match hung in balance and it was decided that the play could be started half-an-hour earlier than usual on the second day, if the weather conditions were found favorable.
Things turned out to be still worse on the second day, however, when the play could not be continued after a 45-minute patch which saw Wise continue with his excellent run of form by claiming the prized scalp of Ganguly at the personal score of 59 runs. Only 10 overs were bowled in the day before rains started pouring again, which did not augur well for India. India ended the day at a cricket score of 133 runs for 4 wickets with Dravid and Yuvraj remaining unbeaten at 38 and 6 runs going to their respective credits.
After the play was officially called off, Indian team headed for MCG's indoor nets to catch up with some much-needed practice for the upcoming test series against Australia. The third day was no better and the match was finally declared drawn with no play taking place on the final day. Victorians must have been satisfied with their bowling performance against India but it only signaled greater odds for visitors in the upcoming matches than they could possibly imagine. Taking a positive cue from the washed-out game, India must prepare itself for a greater battle of cricketing minds about to ensue in the forthcoming days.
Last Updated on 24 August 2012