Rain ruins first day’s play in Mohali

Friday, 15 March 2013 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Play on the first day of the third Test between India and Australia in Mohali has been abandoned due to persistent heavy rain.

There was hope of a delayed start but the dark clouds hovering above the venue refused to go away and when the drizzle returned followed by another shower, the umpires decided to call it a day after lunch had been taken.

Play was officially called off at 1pm local time.

The besieged Australians made four changes to the team hammered by an innings and 135 runs in Hyderabad last week.

Veteran wicketkeeper Brad Haddin will make his first Test appearance in 14 months after Matthew Wade was ruled out with an ankle injury.

Vice-captain Shane Watson and pace bowler James Pattinson had already been omitted for disciplinary reasons, as were squad members Usman Khawaja and Mitchell Johnson.

That opened the door for young batsman Steve Smith, who was recalled for his first Test since 2010, along with pace bowler Mitchell Starc, while off-spinner Nathan Lyon was favoured ahead of all-rounder Glenn Maxwell.

India, who have never won more than two Tests in a single series against Australia, are leading the four-match series 2-0 after convincing victories in the first two Tests in Chennai and Hyderabad.

For the hosts, Delhi left-hander Shikhar Dhawan is making his Test debut in the place of axed opener Virender Sehwag.