Sinking feeling on rainy day: After two ODI loses, India's batting yet to come to terms with pace and bounce

India vs South Africa 3rd ODIDue to incessant rain, Supersport Park in Centurion does not make for a pretty picture a day before the final one-dayer (Express Photo)

The rain had been pelting down since the wee hours of Tuesday morning across Johannesburg and even in neighbouring Pretoria. In fact, it hadn't really stopped for good since the time Nelson Mandela breathed his last five days ago. There were traffic-jams across both the financial and administrative capitals of South Africa with most roads leading to the FNB Stadium in Soweto for the official Mandela Memorial. By mid-afternoon the roads, including the N1 route, had begun flooding.

But for once, nobody was complaining. "This is Madiba rain," they said.

"In South African tradition, when a great man dies, the heavens open up and it will keep raining till the time he's lowered into his final resting place," said another.

The SuperSport Park in Centurion, the venue for the third and final ODI of the series, remained covered in tarpaulin throughout the morning with the teams forced to train within the confines of the indoor-nets. The ground-staff though were taking no chances, braving the rain and setting up their tent, literally, in the middle. The forecast for Wednesday might not have showers in the offing. But with SuperSport Park already having taken a thorough beating over the last couple of days, it's famed drainage system will have to rise to the occasion—that is if the 'Madiba rain' decides to stop soon.

In a way, the tour itself has been mired under dark clouds so far for MS Dhoni's side. And the sun is yet to really rise as far as the Indians are concerned. The world champions have really not turned up for the series so far, which explains the 2-0 score-line going into the third match.

Inconsequential, or not

The third ODI — if it does happen — might be inconsequential as far as the series is concerned but could have a great bearing on the rest of the tour and possibly the mind-set of the young Indian batting going into the next 12 months, where they'll play more cricket away than at home. For starters, they need to break open the shackles that the South African pace attack have put on them, and for that they need at least one of their batsmen to play an inspirational knock, even if it doesn't get them victory.

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