India vs England, 5th Test: Groundsmen Use Burning Coal to Dry Pitch at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai

With cyclone Vardha playing havoc in Chennai on Monday and Tuesday, questions were raised if the MA Chidambaram Stadium would be ready in time to host the fifth Test between India and England, starting Friday. And in an effort to dry up the pitch, the groundsmen have started using burning coal.

India vs England, 5th Test: Groundsmen Use Burning Coal to Dry Pitch at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai

New Delhi: With Cyclone Vardha playing havoc in Chennai on Monday and Tuesday, questions were raised if the MA Chidambaram Stadium would be ready in time to host the fifth Test between India and England, starting Friday. And in an effort to dry up the pitch, the groundsmen have started using burning coal.

The conditions improved on Wednesday and with the sun out, the groundsmen are back to work at the Chepauk. Using burning coal to dry up the wicket is an old method used across various stadiums in the country. Groundsmen have also been seen using hot-coals-powered irons to dry out portions of the pitch when untimely rains have affected cricket matches in the country.

While the situation is tough, TNCA secretary Kasi Viswanathan has assured that no stones will be unturned to start the game on time.

“There is a lot of work to be done, but we are taking it up on a war footing. We are confident the match will start on time,” Viswanathan said.

“The assuring part is that the pitch and the outfield has not been affected by the cyclone. But the sightscreen has been damaged. The bulbs have blown off, air conditioners damaged.

“There have been hundreds of tree trunks lying in the road leading up to the stadium. Our challenge is to set everything in order in the next two days. I am confident we will be able to set everything right.”

The trick behind safeguarding the pitch was to tie the covers to iron poles. The poles helped to keep the covers in their place despite the strong wind. The outfield is also wet, but the TNCA feels that the top-quality drainage system in place in the ground will make it easy to dry up the outfield.

Training was called off for both Virat Kohli and Alastair Cook's teams as the ground isn't ready yet.

Former England skipper Nasser Hussain even posted a picture of the groundsmen using burning coal to dry the wicket on Twitter.



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