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The pitch at Chennai being coal-dried. (Photo Courtesy: Twitter; @bbctms)

As we gear for India to take on England in the fifth and final Test at Chennai, the ground staff at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chepauk took to unusual methods to dry the pitch. Chennai has been hit by the brutal Cyclone Vardah in the past few days, which has ripped the city apart. The stadium at Chepauk did suffer a bit of damage but largely remained unaffected. However, though BCCI and Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) have given the green signal for the Test, a major concern still remains: the pitch, covered for several days, looks damp at this stage.

The groundsmen, who are already under pump to get the stadium ready, turned to hot coal for help. They burned coal over small carriages and placed them on the pitch to make sure the heat would dry any moisture in the pitch. Old-timers may remember that a helicopter was used to dry the outfield at Nehru Stadium, Guwahati a decade back for an ODI between India and England. The pitch, of course, is not the only bit of concern. As per TNCA officials, the sightscreen has been badly damaged, the bulbs of the floodlights have been blown off, and a number of air-conditioners have got damaged. However, if the groundsmen get the pitch, the most crucial aspect of the Test, back in shape before the Test, the match is all set to get underway.

 

 

 

 

India are currently leading the 5-Test series 3-0, and will want to make it 4-0 against an out-of-sorts England side. After a draw in the first Test at Rajkot, India won the next 3 Tests, at Visakhapatnam, Mohali and Mumbai.

Owing to his show in the series, Indian skipper Virat Kohli is now at the second position in ICC Rankings for Test batsmen, right after his Australian contemporary Steven Smith. Ravichandran Ashwin, on the other hand, has extended his lead in terms of points, and has the second best-ever points (904) in a list of legendary bowlers.