Wild weather at the WACA as groundsman gets wiped out.
Wild weather at the WACA as groundsman gets wiped out.

Covers debacle threatens Aussie Ashes bid

A FREAK gust of wind ripped off the covers at a rain affected WACA, sending a groundsman flying and putting Australia's Ashes charge in jeopardy.

Rain meant the fourth day was abandoned midway through the final session of the fourth day, delaying Australia's surge to victory with England four wickets down and still some 126 runs away from making the home side bat again.

With play scheduled to start at 10am local time to make up for the lost time on day four, the WACA ground staff had been preparing the wicket when they rushed to put the covers back on again as another rain shower hit Perth.

Unfortunately for Australia and one groundsman, in particular, they were too slow in laying down the covers, before they went flying.

Earlier, groundsman were seen drying the wicket with blowers

Former Australian captain Michael Clarke was left bemused and frustrated by the fact that play could be delayed - once conditions improve - by wet patches on the wicket.

"Well you'd think these days, with how much money's spent on the game, how have we got covers that can possibly have a hole in them or how water possibly seep through?" Clarke said on Channel 9's commentary.

"The major concern for the umpires if I'm in Joe Root's position is they're not going to be able to tell if under the surface has dried at all.

"Yes, they've got those blowers on the top of the surface, which can make that quite crusty and make it look dry, but you're not going to be able to determine if underneath that is dry.

"And that's one of the hardest things as a captain making a decision if you're going to bat first or bowl first at a toss, the one thing you look at is the moisture in the surface or you'll find out from the groundsman, what's it like underneath?

"It's not just about what you see on top, so that's going to be the biggest concern, in my opinion, for the umpires to make a decision."