Karachi’s wait goes on as Pakistan-Sri Lanka ODI called off

              Sri Lanka captain Lahiru Thirimanne, right, and his Pakistani rival Sarfaraz Ahmed stand with a trophy, in Karachi, Pakistan, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. Thirimanne wants the focus to move from security in Pakistan to the cricket itself when their three-match ODI series starts Friday. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — The 10-year wait for ODI cricket continues for Karachi after the first one-day international between Pakistan and Sri Lanka was called off without any play on Friday.

An unusual spell of monsoon rain in the southern port city during this time of the year left the cricket ground completely waterlogged.

Umpires called off the match at 4:30 p.m. local time with no chance of any play.

The weather forced the Pakistan Cricket Board to put the second ODI back a day from Sunday to Monday. The final game of the three-match series will be played as scheduled on Wednesday.

“I am thankful to Sri Lanka Cricket as well as our host broadcasters for agreeing to amend the match schedule,” said Zakir Khan, PCB’s director of international cricket.

The PCB said the move allowed ground staff more time to prepare the National Stadium outfield.

Only a few hundred spectators braved the rain and made it to the stadium on Friday.

“We came here to watch the match as Sri Lanka has come here after 10 years, we were excited,” said cricket fan Anam Salman at the National Stadium. “We walked a long way in rainy weather but after coming here we are very disappointed … What can we do? We can just hope for the best for the rest of the two matches.”

Fans at Friday’s match can use their tickets for either of the remaining two games.

Karachi hasn’t hosted an ODI in 10 years since Sri Lanka last played here in 2009.

It is the first time since Sri Lanka’s team bus was attacked in Lahore in 2009 that a foreign team will conduct a two-week tour of Pakistan with Karachi hosting all three ODIs. Major teams have avoided Pakistan since that ambush, which killed eight people and injured several players.

Another fan appreciated Sri Lanka sending its team to Pakistan, despite 10 Sri Lanka players pulling out of the limited-overs series due to security reasons.

“We must appreciate Sri Lanka Cricket for sending their team after 10 years, we hoped to enjoy some good cricket, but it’s disappointing that we didn’t have a match because of rain,” Azeem Rahat said.

The ODI series will be followed by three Twenty20s at Lahore.