The fifth One-Day International between India and Sri Lanka at the Ferozeshah Kotla on Sunday was abandoned because the pitch was found to be dangerous to play on.
Sri Lanka were reduced to 83 for five wickets after 23.3 overs when the players left the field.
After much discussion between match officials, the captains, Delhi District Cricket Association officials and curator Daljit Singh, the pitch was deemed unfit to continue play.
India thus earned the dubious distinction of being involved in the only two abandoned One-day Internationals because of bad playing conditions.
Earlier, against the same opposition, the second ODI of the series in Indore, on December 25, 1997, was called off after just 19 minutes of play.
The players walked off the field after Roshan Mahanama was hit by a Javagal Srinath delivery on his knuckles. Even as the batsman scampered for a run, the batsman gesticulated wildly to umpire Subroto Porel about the dangerous nature of the track. Porel consulted his colleague at the other end, Davinder Sharma, who was officiating in his first international match, and the duo upheld the batsman's appeal.
Match referee Justice Ahmed Ebrahim consulted with the two captains -- Sachin Tendulkar and Arjuna Ranatunga -- and decided to call off the match. After 45 minutes of hectic consultations, play was called off with the Sri Lankan board reading 17-1 after three overs
At the Kotla on Sunday, with India leading the current series 3-1, Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara seemed unhappy with the condition of the pitch as ball bounced awkardly on many occasions. Tillakaratne Dilshan was at the receiving end, hit by a delivery from Ashish Nehra early in the match and needed treatment. Then Sanath Jayasuriya took a nasty blow on his shoulder from a Sudeep Tyagi delivery.
But play continued till a Tyagi delivery kicked off the pitch and wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni struggled to collect it. Sri Lanka batsman Thilan Kandamby immediately had a word with Dhoni and then spoke with umpires Marais Erasmus and Shavir Tarapore even as Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara gestured to his batsmen to return to the dressing room.
Subsequently, Match Referee Alan Hurst walked to the middle and was joined by Kotla curator Vijay Bahadur Mishra and BCCI Pitch and Grounds Committee chairman Daljit Singh. Sangakkara, India coach Gary Kirsten and his Sri Lanka counterpart Trevor Bayliss also entered the field and joined in the discussion whether play should be called off.
Earlier, India claimed three quick wickets to have reduce Sri Lanka to 63 for 5 after 18 overs. After Zaheer Khan claimed both the openers cheaply, debutant Sudeep Tyagi and Harbhajan Singh struck in successive overs. Suresh Raina then effected a superb run-out, catching Thilan Samaraweera short of his crease with a throw after Kandamby played the ball to the covers. Samaraweera was out for 2 off 2 balls.
Tyagi had earlier claimed his first ODI victim, dismissing Kumar Sangakkara with the first delivery of his third over. The right-arm pacer pitched it up and Sri Lanka's captain went for an expansive drive only to be caught by Suresh Raina in the covers. He was out for 1 from 9 ball and his team reduced to 58-3 after 15.1 overs.
Harbhajan then struck, dismissing Sanath Jayasuriya, who was just settling down, with his fourth delivery. The ball turned and Jayasuriya was trapped plumb in front after a fighting 34 off 45 balls, which included five hits to the fence. Sri Lanka were 60-4 in 16.4 overs.
Sanath Jayasuriya, who completed 20 years of ODI cricket, got the Lankan innings going with the a tricky boundary off Zaheer towards third man. He then hit consecutive boundaries off the left armer as Sri Lanka looked to build after the loss of early wickets. However, he failed to carry on.
India got off to a rousing start, with both the new ball bowlers making full use of the early morning conditions.
Zaheer struck with the first delivery of the match, sending the dangerous Upul Tharanga back to the pavilion with a gem of a delivery that nipped back and hit top of middle stump.
India could have had Dilshan too back in the hut as well had Suresh Raina held on to a difficult chance off Ashish Nehra. Dilshan went after a Nehra loosener but Raina couldn't hold on to it.
The Lankans were living dangerously, with a couple of close run-out chances gone abegging.
At the end of five overs Sri Lanka were 20 for one wicket, with Dilshan and Jayasuriya both on 9.
The match, which was delayed by 15 minutes because of foggy conditions, was stopped temporarily as the Sri Lankan batsman complained of bad light. Both Dilshan and Sanath Jayasuriya, who came in after the fall of Tharanga, were uncomfortable with the sighting of the ball behind the bowler's arm.
Zaheer, who bowled an immaculate line and length early, got the edge of Tillakaratne Dilshan, which was gleefully accepted by M S Dhoni. The opener was the left-armer's second victim. He scored 20 off 39 balls, inclusive of two boundaries.
Play was held up for seven minutes after Dilshan was struck on the elbow by Nehra's second delivery in the tenth over. After treatment he returned, but fell soon after.
Dilshan was not his usual self and struggled to time the ball. He lived dangerously, taking chances off the paces. He got as many as three chances -- dropped once and could have been run-out twice, had the Indians had hit the target. But the Indian fielding was sloppy yet again; they dropped a catch, missed run-outs and the ground fielding was ordinaty.
India, who won the toss and elected to field, made a couple of changes to the squad for the dead rubber, having already having taken a 3-1 lead in the series.
India rested Sachin Tendulkar, which meant Dinesh Karthik stayed in the team, while Sudeep Tyagi made his ODI debut, replacing a struggling Ishant Sharma.
Sri Lanka too made changes, dropping out-of-form Lasith Malinga, who was replaced by Chanaka Welegedara, and Mahela Jayawardene, who was replaced by Thilan Samaraweera.
Thissara Perera and Suranga Lakmal stayed with the team after an impressive outing in the fourth ODI.
India: M S Dhoni (c&wk), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Dinesh Karthik, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Sudeep Tyagi.
Sri Lanka: Kumar Sangakkara (c&wk), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Sanath Jayasuriya, Thilina Kandamby, Thilan Samaraweera, Upul Tharanga, Chanaka Welegedara, Muthumudalige Pushpakumara, Suraj Randiv, Thissara Perera, Suranga Lakmal