Near empty stands greet Indian, South African players

April 4th, 2008 - 1:23 pm ICT by admin  

(Cricket Diary)
By Avishek Roy
Ahmedabad, April 4 (IANS) The Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera near here wore a deserted look Friday as India and South Africa took field on day two of the second Test match. The ground with a capacity of 45,000 was near empty with just a few brave hearts taking time out to watch the proceedings. India’s abysmal performance in the first innings kept away fans who had enthusiastically gathered to see the first day’s play Thursday. The ticket prices start from Rs.40, but that is hardly an incentive to watch the match in which South Africa nailed down India on the very first session on the opening day.

There were no takers for the blue caps and the tri-colour as vendors expecting good sales were left in the lurch. “They should see South African flags instead,” quipped an organiser, seeing them looking for potential buyers. The school exams have also taken a toll on the match. Only a dramatic revival for India can attract the locals to the ground.

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Better later than never

After their pathetic show Thursday, the Indian team had a long warm-up session in the morning before the start of play Friday. They had hardly had a gruelling practice session before the match, as many of the players were busy with Indian Premier League-related events.

The team attended the net session at its full strength just a day before the match, quite contrary to the South African side, which slogged in the heat for two days here. Further, the Proteas sweated it out for more than an hour before they took the field for the all-important second day Friday.

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Clouds play hide-and-seek

The weather appeared pleasant on the second day of the match as stray clouds played hide and seek with the sun. There is no forecast of rain though clouds will continue to hover, according to the weatherman. This is the first time that a Test match is being played in this season here and the ground temperature in the afternoon rises to over 40 degrees Celsius making conditions difficult for the players.

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