India vs England: Rain washes out first day of Lord’s Test
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India vs England: Rain washes out first day of Lord’s Test

The umpires had a second inspection well into what would have been the final session of play, which was a mere formality with the sky still overcast and a mild drizzle still coming down.

cricket Updated: Aug 10, 2018 09:40 IST
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Cricket - England v India - Second Test - Lord’s, London, Britain - August 9, 2018 Umpires Jeffrey Crowe, Aleem Dar and Marais Erasmus check the condition of the pitch during a rain delay(Action Images via Reuters)

After all the anticipation in the build-up to the second Test between India and England, steady rain through the day forced the first day’s play to be washed out at Lord’s on Thursday.

The umpires had a second inspection well into what would have been the final session of play, which was a mere formality with the sky still overcast and a mild drizzle still coming down.

It was a huge dampener for thousands of fans, who had streamed into the ground in the morning hoping that the weather would relent and allow some play after the series opener in Edgbaston proved an edge-of-the-seat thriller in the end. The hosts won by 31 runs on the fourth morning to take a 1-0 lead in the five-game series.

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The Lord’s takes pride in the ‘hum’ of the fans, polite applause from the stands rather than loud cheers ringing out. On Thursday, most of the chatter was scattered near the stalls selling beer under the stands as fans killed time.

Almost every spectator had an umbrella, some with the slogan ‘rain stopped play’ that underlined the fickle English weather. London, in the grip of a harsh summer, heaved a sigh of relief, but it was a dampener for cricket enthusiasts, particularly Virat Kohli and his team.

The only brief phase of excitement was provided by two fans who ran on to the ground and slid on the pitch covers. They were taken away by security personnel.

The groundsmen kept removing water from the covers throughout the day. With no cricket action, the sporting focus in UK on Thursday thus was almost entirely on the frenzied final day of football transfer window with deadline set for 5 pm.

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“It will be a good toss to lose,” chuckled former England off-spinner John Emburey, president of the Middlesex County Cricket Club based at Lord’s, watching the rain.

England are without influential all-rounder Ben Stokes as he attends the court hearing in Bristol for affray charges over the incident outside a pub in that city last September.

It must have particularly been frustrating for Virat Kohli. Neither he nor England counterpart Joe Root had named a second spinner, which had looked possible on a dry pitch. But with dampness all around both teams are likely to shelve that plan. There is forecast for some rain on Friday as well.

England had named 12, with the toss up between pace-bowling all-rounder Chris Woakes and spinner Moeen Ali. Middle-order batsman Ollie Pope is due to make his England debut.

For India, the focus is on whether chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav will come in, though the weather now promises seam movement. That could lead to Cheteshwar Pujara getting a chance after being left out of the first Test.

India won the last time at Lord’s, on the 2014 tour. They are aiming to win their first series in England for 11 years. After a 1-0 win in 2007, they lost 0-4 in 2011 and 1-3 in 2014.

First Published: Aug 09, 2018 22:05 IST