The groundstaff at the Chepauk on Wednesday were seen using burning coal to dry the pitch set to be used for the fifth and final cricket Test between India and England starting December 16.

Cyclone ‘Vardah’ that lashed the city last Monday caused considerable damage to property and the iconic stadium has also not been spared. However the square and the outfield have not been damaged. But the downpour has certainly left a lot of dampness on the 22-yard strip.

That is the reason why the age-old formula of keeping burning coal trays on pitches is being used. It is a tried and tested formula to soak the dampness and try to make it as dry as possible with less than 48 hours left for the Test match to start.

BCCI’s south zone curator PR Viswanathan is satisfied with the current condition of the pitch.

“The wickets prepared for the match and the outfield are in excellent condition. It should play true but I cannot say as to how the wicket would behave,” Viswanathan said.

TNCA secretary Kashi Viswanathan is supervising the arrangement as the association is working on a warfooting to get things in order. The veteran official is confident that everything will be in order before the first delivery is bowled.

He said:”It was bad yesterday and day before but with the progress of the work to resolve everything get them in its place has been very encouraging. Our staff getting the sightscreens in condition. Work towards this is almost over and we are confident about the scheduled start of the match.”

The TNCA secretary said that due to a better drainage system, the outfield will not remain soggy.

“One good thing is the drainage system at the stadium which is very good. It is unfortunate that the practice pitches on the other side of the pavilion could not be readied as it was totally wet. Thus the rival team members can only have fielding sessions tomorrow morning. We are sorry about that.”

He also informed that the damaged air conditioners and one of the stadium gate are being repaired.