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    3rd Test: After damp opening day, clear weather predicted for Friday

    Mohali: The opening day's play of the third Test between India and Australia was called off due to rain without a ball being bowled. It had been raining in Chandigarh and the surrounding areas since Wednesday night and continued so on Thursday morning.

    The groundsmen at the PCA Stadium were busy in mopping up work since early he in tmorning but the intermittent rain made it a futile job. Australia, meanwhile, declared their playing ZI on Thursday.

    With four players being axed on disciplinary grounds, the visitors made a host of changes. Steven Smith replaced Shane Watson in the top six as a batting allrounder, while Glenn Maxwell made way for Nathan Lyon. Left-arm quick Mitchell Starc was also drafted into the side in place of James Pattinson. Injured wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade also made way for Brad Haddin, who flew in from Australia as cover.

    The Meteorological Department forecast a rainless day on Friday. "We are expecting the weather to be somewhat cloudy but hopeful of a rainless day," Chandigarh's Meteorological Department director, Surinder Paul, told PTI.

    The PCA Joint Secretary, GS Walia informed that the match would start half an hour early from Friday to make up for the loss of play on Thursday.

    India are leading the four-match series 2-0 after convincing victories in the last two outings in Chennai and Hyderabad.