Cricket - Why World T20 teams are conducting 'dew' diligence

If there has been a massive increase in demand for towels from teams competing at the ongoing World Twenty20 competition in Bangladesh, no one should be surprised.

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Heavy evening dew in Chittagong, and to a lesser extent in Mirpur, has forced competing sides into a form of 'dew diligence' as fielding teams struggle to ensure the ball remains dry for their exasperated bowlers, who have felt handicapped.

England spinner James Tredwell epitomised their plight with his painstaking efforts to vigorously rub the ball with a navy blue towel after every delivery in Thursday's six-wicket victory over Sri Lanka.

Since the Super 10 stage commenced, nine out of 10 teams who won the toss have opted to field, hoping to spare their attack the agony of bowling with something akin to a slippery bar of soap later on.

More and more players take to the field with a towel tucked in their waistband and England skipper Stuart Broad could not help but feel sorry for the Sri Lankan bowlers, who battled in vain to halt England's spirited Chittagong chase on Thursday.

"Conditions were pretty difficult. I felt for the Sri Lankan bowlers towards the end because the ball was obviously getting very wet," Broad said after Alex Hales' sizzling century powered England to a campaign-reviving victory.

Broad and his men have been practising with balls dunked in a bucket of water, a ploy that appeared to have now found a taker in Pakistan.

MENDIS NEGATED

"It's extremely wet out there. The seam is virtually impossible to dry. We changed four-five balls in our innings and it was the same with the Sri Lankans," Broad said.

"It just makes bowlers a little bit unsure when going for the yorker (a fuller delivery). We've been fielding with wet balls in practice but we have to make them wet bar of soaps I think."

His Sri Lankan counterpart Dinesh Chandimal said the dew factor virtually negated the threat that mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis, who bled 52 runs from his four overs without success, could have posed to the Englishmen.

"There is a lot of dew. We had two spinners who couldn't grip the ball, especially Mendis," Chandimal said.

Dew has made catching difficult as well and England were made to look like amateurs when they dropped four straight-forward chances from Sri Lanka's top three scorers.

"The ball was not going in the hand very well, it was really slippery, something we are not particularly used to," Broad said.

The all-rounder later claimed on Twitter he might have finally found an answer to the vexing issue.

"Haha some great tips on drying the ball. Don't bounce it. Catch it. Change it every ball and ask Athers about dirt seem the most popular!"

Broad's reference was to the 1984 Lord's test when compatriot Mike Atherton was fined for not disclosing dirt in his pocket which he claimed he used to dry his hands with.

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