Rain delays W Indies

West Indies v India
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The Independent Online
It had not rained here for six weeks before Thursday night but the unseasonal weather caught up with the fourth Test between India and the West Indies and prevented play on the opening day.

The forecast was for a return to the usual Caribbean sunshine at this time of the year during the afternoon but the umpires, Steve Bucknor and B C Cooray, of Sri Lanka, decided no play would be possible.

A start would have been in prospect but for the continuing anachronistic method of covering and mopping up at the Recreation Ground. The only way of getting rid of the water that had collected on the flat, plastic covers was for the conscripted ground staff from the adjoining prison to use makeshift sponges and garbage cans converted into buckets. As a Test venue since 1981 and with the West Indies bidding to host the World Cup by 2001 the system seemed entirely out of place.

The West Indies lead the five Test series 1-0 after their dramatic victory in Barbados on Monday when their fast bowlers routed India for 81 when they required only 120. It has left India's young captain, Sachin Tendulkar, with the difficult task of reviving the shattered spirits of his team and influencing them into the aggression they must now show to keep their interests in the series alive.

They would have to do without the services of Navjot Singh Sidhu, their experienced opener and double-century maker in the second Test, who came down with malarial fever overnight and had to withdraw.

For the West Indies, Courtney Walsh resumes as captain, having recovered from the strained hamstring that kept him out of the Barbados Test.