Dhoni India
MS Dhoni celebrates reaching his century against Australia in the third ODIBCCI

It has turned into a five-match series after all.

After much debate over the merits of holding a seven-match one-day series between India and Australia, the weather Gods decided to intervene and nip the argument in the bud by basically turning the competition into a best-of-five with the fifth ODI in Cuttack abandoned due to rain.

It became pretty clear a day or so ago that the possibilities of the match going through in Odisha was pretty minimal as the cyclone after-effects were well and truly felt with heavy rains lashing the state for the past week.

The Odisha Cricket Association, desperate for the match to go through, attempted every possible trick in the book, even hiring helicopters to dry the outfield; but the rains had done their damage to the ground, leaving the umpires and match referee, after an inspection in the morning, with little choice but to abandon the game without a ball being bowled.

Umpires Nigel Long, S Ravi and C Shamsuddin inspected the surface at 11 a.m. (IST) following a brief spell of sunshine. However, with the ground flooded with water, the decision was always going to be against the match going through.

"After inspection umpires in their report submitted that the outfield is not fit for play and no play is possible," OCA secretary Asirbad Behera said.  

"Pitch is fit to play however the outfield is still wet and not fit and the umpires announced it at 11.15 p.m. With deep regret, I announce the cancellation of the match.

"We knew it from yesterday but as per the ICC guidelines we had to wait for the umpires' inspection on the match day." 

This is the second match in a row which has now been called off, with the Ranchi one-dayer also suffering the same problem, even if an innings and four overs were completed in that particular game.

The series currently stands at 2-1 in Australia's favour, thanks to that hurricane innings from James Faulkner. Only two more matches remain - in Nagpur on Wednesday and Bangalore next Saturday - meaning India have to win both of them to win the series.