India received two precious points that kept their ambitions of advancing to the final of the One-Day International (ODI) tri-series cricket tournament alive after the crucial match against Australia was called off due to rain on Monday.
Earlier, Australia captain George Bailey won the toss and put India in to bat at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). The visitors struggled to post 69 for two after 16 overs, losing out-of-form opener Shikhar Dhawan (8) and Ambati Rayudu (23).
Opener Ajinkya Rahane (batting 28) and Virat Kohli (batting 3) were at the crease when rain stopped play. For Australia, Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Marsh were the two bowlers to claim the wickets that fell.
After a lengthy halt, the umpires decided to call off the game. The match had already been reduced to a 44-over affair after rain delayed the start of the match.
The two points earned with the abandonment were India’s first points in the tournament, after having lost their first two matches against Australia and England, respectively.
They are still third on the points table with England on five and Australia having already booked a final berth with 15 points.
The washout made India’s last league match against England at Perth Friday a virtual semi-final with the winner qualifying to play against Australia in the final.
India named two of their injured players, Ishant Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja in the team Monday but were forced to leave out batsman Rohit Sharma with a sore hamstring.
Australia included fast bowler Josh Hazlewood, all-rounder Mitchell Marsh and left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty in their team.
After the cancellation, South Australia’s cricket fans blasted the decision to move the match to Sydney. Fans took to social media to vent their frustration at Cricket Australia (CA) over the decision to move the match from Adelaide — where the weather was fine — to Sydney.
The Australia Day match has traditionally been played in Adelaide before it was stripped from the city by the sport’s governing body in June last year.(IANS)