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Eden Gardens' preparation for second ODI hit by rain

Seasonal showers effected a 30-minute delay in start of play at the Eden Gardens BCCI

Wet weather in Kolkata has lent an element of uncertainty to only the second ODI between India and Australia at Eden Gardens since the TVS Cup final in 2003. There are concerns over whether the groundstaff have had adequate time to prepare the pitch amid persistent rain.

There was a spell on Monday that resulted in the pitch being under covers in the afternoon and another on Tuesday morning, forcing the groundstaff to cover the entire outfield. That meant India had to cancel a scheduled training session. The met department has predicted a possibility of more rain in the coming days.

Eden Gardens' preparedness for rain has been under the scanner since a Twenty20 International between India and South Africa in October 2015 was abandoned without a ball bowled.

At the time, the ground authorities had failed to clear the puddles caused by a 30-minute downpour that occurred five hours before the scheduled start. Then in an effort to ensure minimal delays, the groundstaff covered the entire playing area in the build-up to the World T20 clash between India and Pakistan last year. The ground's drainage system has been upgraded since.

Doubt we will be out on the ground today.

A post shared by David Warner (@davidwarner31) on Sep 18, 2017 at 11:46pm PDT

Sujan Mukherjee, the chief curator at Eden Gardens, has insisted that a sporting surface benefiting both batsmen and bowlers will be provided. Mukherjee's East Zone colleague Ashish Browmick, however, fears that the surface may not have enough pace in it if it remained under the covers for too long.

Sourav Ganguly, the Cricket Association of Bengal president, was supervising work carried out by the groundstaff on Monday. A few days ago, he expressed full confidence that the rains wouldn't have undue effect on Thursday's second ODI.

Since the pitch was re-laid ahead of the 2016-17 season, Eden Gardens has offered increased help for fast bowlers. There was remarkable seam movement for the white ball when England and India played each other in the most recent ODI at this ground. And yet that was a game where a total of 321 proved enough by only five runs.