NEW DELHI, March 5, 2011 (AFP) – Torrential rain washed away defending champions Australia’s World Cup clash with Sri Lanka on Saturday, just as the eagerly awaited encounter between the fierce rivals was coming to the boil. Sri Lanka had made 146-3, with skipper Kumar Sangakkara hitting an unbeaten 73, when Colombo’s R. Premadasa stadium, packed with 35,000 fans, was swamped by a downpour.
After a delay of two-and-a-half hours, play was abandoned as a no result with both sides awarded a point apiece.
“It’s a shame, it was shaping up to be a terrific game. Sangakkara was controlling the match for them,” said Australia skipper Ricky Ponting.
“It would have been a tough wicket to bat on second, it would have been a tough run chase.”
The build-up to the Group A match had been clouded in controversy when former Australian umpire Darrell Hair made new ‘chucking’ allegations over Sri Lanka’s record-breaking spinner Muttiah Muralitharan. Hair, who caused a storm in the international game when he first called the spinner for an illegal action in 1995, said that many current match officials share the same doubts.
However, he insisted that some umpires are scared to intervene, content to see the 38-year-old en