Second Test, Antigua:
England 7-0 v West Indies
Day one of the second Test between West Indies and England in Antigua was abandoned after 10 balls because of a dangerous outfield.
The West Indies bowlers were struggling to keep their footing on an outfield covered in sand following recent rain.
After discussions between the players, umpires and match referee Alan Hurst, play was called off with England 7-0.
Talks are ongoing as to whether the match can be continued at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium or relocated.
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ENGLAND FIRST INNINGS
PLAY ABANDONED FOR THE DAY - UNFIT OUTFIELD
"Tell you what, if Phil Harding were called upon to excavate that ground in the distant future, he wouldn't know what to make of it. Obviously the flooding and soil conditions mean it couldn't have been used as a sporting venue, and it's miles from the town, so it couldn't be a public arena for performances or anything like that. He couldn't even flee to the last refuge of the bewildered archaeologist, 'it's a solar temple, or a calendar of some kind', because the stadium blocks out the sun."
Duncan in the TMS inbox
"Perhaps if the Time Team diggers dig long enough they may uncover the dignity that England lost in the last Test."
Ryano, Epsom, in the TMS inbox
1611: Apparently all the officials are on their way to the Recreation Ground to see if it's playable down there. And until we have any updates, which we'll put in the news story at the top of the site, I think I'm going to leave it at that... Yours Farcically, Benjamin
1605: There's a presser going on now... one of these journos might start throwing shoes about...
"It's hard for me to say much about it as I didn't have my bowlers out there, but if a bowler can't bowl at near full pace it seems it's not fit to play on. The game of cricket doesn't need this... the Recreation Ground is not in a great state, but it's a possibility... we're 1-0 down and we desperately want to play this game. Any way we can play it, we'll support it..."
England captain Andrew Strauss
"Ben, how dare you insult the legend of Wiltshire and denim shorts that is Phil Harding! Saw him once at a non-league football game - was in utter awe of the man and his battered and stained hat."
Andy, Tooting, in the TMS inbox
"I knew what was happening far quicker via the BBC website. The guy in front of me had a flash mobile phone and was following what was happening on the BBC website and reading it out.
"It was clear when they went off for the pitch problem that something wasn't right. You could see bowlers were having run-up trouble before the rain stop then again afterwards.
"Nothing was announced for half an hour, people in England would have known what was going on quicker than we did. It took them half an hour to make an announcement which we couldn't hear, then it put on the scoreboard - initially it said it was because of problems with the outfield, now says it was the bowlers' run-up.
"The stands are ticketed, but the grassy bits around the ground are open access, so there's a huge perimeter fence and only two entrance points. It took half an hour to get in because they were searching everyone. CMJ was queuing in front of me just like everyone else. It's shambolic."
Adrian Dalingwater, BBC News website in Antigua
1558: Hugh Morris, England manager, confirms that England have requested to the WICB that they play the match at the old Recreation Ground. Morris also confirms that England wrote a letter to the referee, Alan Hurst, last night, expressing the team's concerns. Players out and about signing a few autographs now. That's nice.
"Who would win in a fight between Mark King's hair and Daniel Craig?"
James in the TMS inbox
"Re: old-fashioned beach rules - don't forget they'd have to use an old, tiny bat with perished grip, uneven stumps at one end and a deck chair at the other. And all catches must include an extravagant dive..."
Dave, London, in the TMS inbox
"What nonsense - Kenny Lynch was never the best on-screen milkman. Not after Robin Askwith's performance in the classic ITV comedy 'Bottle Boys'."
Smiffy in the TMS inbox
1550: It looks like an episode of Time Team out in the middle now - the turf on the run-ups is being dug up and you half expect that West Country chap to hove into view and start mincing about with his trowel. Aggers on TMS reckon they're now considering digging up turf from the Recreation Ground, bringing it over and relaying it at the Sir Viv Stadium. Odd.
"Does anyone out there have the old Subbuteo Test Cricket game? It's nearly the real thing." Paul, Windsor, in the TMS inbox
"Mark King has always had horrible hair, but by golly can he play the bass. I was there at Level 42's breakthrough concert in December 1981 at the Fairfield Halls, Croydon, and I caught the drumstick Mark threw into the crowd after an improvised percussion riff. Have seen him at least five times since, every time he's played like a god."
Andrew Gilbert in the TMS inbox
"I think Daniel of Milton Keynes' suggestion of playing beach cricket instead is admirable. It would also be more environmentally friendly as only one stump is required for the non-strikers end."
Silver Feather in Sunderland in the TMS inbox
1534: You've got to feel sorry for Sir Viv. You get a stadium named after you and this happens. I know Dustin Hoffman once had a carzy named after him, but this must top that. The umpires and referees and the West Indies Cricket chaps are getting together to find out what they're going to do. Apparently the Recreation Ground is unplayable, and I can't see Allen Stanford letting them play in his back yard...
"Re Paul in Lancs (see below) - if the teams have to go inside to play, like his kids when outdoor PE is abandoned, will they be mad to play in vest and pants too? I can see Gayle playing in jazzy boxers, whilst Strauss is a white vest and Y-fronts man..."
Mark in Newmarket in the TMS inbox
"It's been an absolute farce. We were not told anything, I only found out play had been abandoned from a text from someone back in London.
We only had a garbled message saying play had been abandoned about half an hour later. There are all sorts of rumours going around - some people say it might be switched to the Stanford Ground. Some people I know went to see the old Antigua Recreation ground yesterday, and the outfield there is clearly not playable.
"There were stories in the local press before play suggesting that the outfield was not right and would be a problem so clearly they knew before play began."
Mark Mitchener, BBC Sport in Antigua
"Ben, why don't they just go the whole hog and get down the nearest beach and play the Test their instead? They could use the old-fashioned beach rules from all our childhoods, including six for any shot that reaches the sea. It would be quite amusing to have a few stray dogs chewing the ball too, not to mention an annoying little sister playing who gets bored after a couple of minutes."
Daniel, Milton Keynes, in the TMS inbox
"Do any one of my fellow live text readers know what time the highlights show is on tonight?"
Andrew in the TMS inbox
"Re Nick, London (see below) I don't think Shah has scored heavily enough here to justify his recall."
Greg, London, in the TMS inbox
"What about forking out for some cork matting from the local DIY centre to lay down on the run ups? Or is that too radical?"
Silver Feather in Sunderland in the TMS inbox
"Bonus for Cook's average - he must be stoked with 1 not out."
JP in the TMS inbox
"They can't even organise Test cricket, let alone beach cricket - they'd probably arrange it for when the tide's coming in..."
Sir Geoffrey Boycott on TMS
"It's an embarrassment for West Indies cricket - over the past two years they've had problems with drainage here, look at the World Cup, one game had to be carried over. Last year, they lost half a day in a Test match against Australia and this is how they tried to fix it.
"It's virtually a beach cricket match as a Test match. They were warned by several people in Antigua that the pitch was being built in the wrong location - we are in a bowl and the water will collect, which is what has caused flooding in the past and that is why the sand has been laid."
Tony Cozier on TMS
"When my kids's outside PE gets called off because it's too wet, they have to go in the hall and do stuff with beanbags and those rubber rings that always look like a dog's chewed them even when there are no dogs in school. Assuming England-WI have to do the same, I reckon Ian Bell will come into his own."
Paul in Lancs in the TMS inbox
1512: I can only imagine that for the bowlers running in on this, it's like when you used to eat hot, sludgy Reddy Brek and suddenly run into a pocket of powdery stuff. Or something like that. I've annoyed a lot of Ralph McTell fans. Sorry. I thought he was brilliant on Tickle on the Tum, and Kenny Lynch is the best on-screen milkman since Benny Hill.
"I suppose it is too much to expect them to inspect the pitch before the match? I can't believe it has deteriorated that much in 10 balls! And they could at least have waited until we got past 51!"
Andy, Birmingham, in the TMS inbox
"Could Sir Allen Stanford step forward and get the Coolidge Ground ready? Oh the irony..."
Ali, London, in the TMS inbox
"Bowlers were having trouble getting their footing - they were digging down in the sand and the turf was giving way. The umpires decided it was very dangerous and after talking to the captains decided it was unfit for play today. So we are going to look at the options available to us. Whether that is playing at another venue is up for discussion.
"There was no evidence (before play) that this would happen. We knew of the problems, but there was no evidence, but after two overs it became clear and it is hard to see that there will be any improvement (at this ground)."
Match referee Alan Hurst on TMS
"It's difficult to know what the groundsmen can do, apart from get themselves down the garden centre, buy some turf and dig it in... I feel sorry for Sir Viv, he's distraught... and a friend of mine is here on a holiday of a lifetime... he's been looking forward to it for years..."
Jonathan Agnew on TMS
"I think we can rule out the possibility of playing a Test match here. If the bowlers can't find their run-ups today, they won't be able to do so on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday."
Vic Marks on TMS
"Having seen Ralph McTell last year, he's playing better than ever, and I'd rather see Mr McTell play guitar in a small club than Bob Dylan hide behind a piano at the side of a massive area stage."
Neil in sunny Nottingham in the TMS inbox
"Can I ask why when looking for a metaphor for wooden acting, you used a character made from plasticine, a highly malleable modelling clay (which is why he was called Morph)? Professor Augustus Barclay Yaffle from Bagpuss, a carved wooden bookend, would have been more suitable."
Cazz in the TMS inbox
"Outrageous, anyone with half a brain knows that sand has no cohesion and you can't run on it! Might I suggest they get an engineering geologist out there to fill in the gaps with a suitable sand, clay, silt mix. I am happy to volunteer for an all expenses paid trip."
Ash, London, in the TMS inbox
"Dalton wins the edginess fight hands down. Providing it's a one-on-one with a balloon. The only sport they are really good at, and they can't get a pitch right. That's like the Crucible making a hash of the baize. Amateur."
Scott, Surbiton, in the TMS inbox
"I don't blame God (aka Sir Vivian Richards) for being appalled by the shenanigans at the ground - after all the ground was named after him but the set up doesn't seem to have the slightest hint of his class."
Thomas Moffatt in the TMS inbox
"Fifty quid says this match gets abandoned and then Ian Bell is recalled for Shah with the selectors saying he has played his way back into form."
Nick, London, in the TMS inbox
1450: Erm, it looks like it's off. Players trudge from the pitch and the run-ups are, according to referee Alan Hurst, "deemed to be dangerous for the bowlers and the decision has been taken to abandon play for the day. We're looking into options to relocate, so rather than say play is abandoned, we're abandoning play for the day..." Absolutely remarkable. The camera pans around the England fans, and, to a man, they look like they've turned up to watch Bob Dylan play and been lumbered with Ralph McTell instead.
"Mark King - good hair? Does he have hair? Mick Kahn is clearly the coolest bass player ever, and as it was the 80s, who cares if he was any good? And don't even get me started on Timothy Dalton. Edgier than what exactly?"
Johnny Pub Quiz - Paris
1445: Shades, of course, of Jamaica in 1998. On that occasion, English batsmen were hit seven times in the first 10 overs and play was halted with the score 17-3. On that occasion, the Test was moved to Trinidad a week later. As the great boxing historian Bert Sugar once said to me, "this bunch of clowns couldn't run a two-car parade..."
1440: Windies skipper Gayle is clearly not happy and we've got a mass debate out in the middle. It could be hotdog refunds all round in Antigua... what a shambles... slow handclaps now... my mum and dad's next door neighbour Betty could have prepared a better pitch than this. Here comes the match referee, Alan Hurst of Australia...
1436 - 7-0
Someone seems to have had a go at a car somewhere, there's a piercing alarm screaming through my right ear. Cook off the mark with a nurdle off his pads. Edwards pulls up for the second time in this over - he, like Taylor isn't happy with his run-up, and this doesn't bode well. The pitch can only go one way, and that's downwards... the players have a huddle with Umpire Harper, and Edwards pulls up for a third time. Hmmm...
"Who do you reckon would win a fight between 50 Morph-sized Daniel Craigs and one Daniel Craig-sized Morph? The Daniel Craig-sized Morph edges it for me."
Rob, Liverpool, in the TMS inbox
1431: Looks like we're going to have a restart in a moment. In the meantime, have a go at our caption comp, it's ruddy hilarious, but you don't win anything:
Caption comp (that isn't actually a comp)
"Are they still using nothing more than a large tarpaulin to cover the wicket? I am cunningly following your commentary while my class of year eight children complete a tricky test on microbes! Unlucky kids - nice way to end the week!" elbroddo147 on 606
Join the debate on 606
1426:Nic (see below), I have spoken to Scott and he assures me he is very sorry and is currently leafing through his Little Book of Pop and Rock. Talking about a lack of music knowledge, for years I thought the song on that Night Nurse advert was just made for the Night Nurse advert, until someone told me the other day it was a Gregory Isaacs classic. I felt like a right wally. Sun out now and plenty of schoolchildren streaming in, although Gary Clarke has emailed in to say his bro is there and there's hardly any locals in the ground because of ticket prices. Who to believe?
"Ben, please tell Scott (1414) to check his limited knowledge of British bass players. There is only one candidate for the job, and of course it is the larger than life Jah Wobble. Much better name than Peter Hook or Mark King as well."
Nic Oliver in the TMS inbox
1422: The Umps are out, the rain has stopped and the covers are coming off. We should have a bit more cricket in a few minutes. England have played only twice on this ground before, during the 2007 World Cup ('The Rubbishest Sporting Event Ever'), and they were beaten twice. Brian Lara also made his two world record scores against England in Antigua, but that was on another ground.
"Morph wouldn't make a good Bond unless it was the tongue in cheek Roger Moore type. I've always seen his wilder, edgier friend Chas as the Daniel Craig style Bond. I reckon that in a fight between Chas and a bear, Chas would win."
Andy in Manchester in the TMS inbox
1414: Don't think this delay will last too long, but then what do I know about Caribbean weather systems? Sir Viv's not happy about the pitch in Antigua: "It is not a job well done and the people responsible should have their purses held back.. I'm appalled."
"Ben, please ask Mark from Frindsbury as to what medication he is taking/drink he has been supping. I definitely need some to get me throught the next five days... As for Mark King, sorry cannot agree. Peter Hook will always be bass god."
Scott in the TMS inbox
1410 - 6-0 Fidel Edwards to share the new ball with Taylor and his first ball is pitched right up and goes through an airy drive from Strauss like a dose of salts. I'm sorry to say the chaps are getting ready with the covers and here comes the rain... they're off...
"I'd love you to bowl to me on this Aggers, you were normally lively, but you'd be medium pace on this..."
Sir Geoffrey Boycott on TMS
1406 - 5-0
Righto, enough mucking about, here's Jerome Taylor into Andrew Strauss and the England skipper nudges off his legs for a couple. That's what you want after being skittled for 51, and nice buffet ball on leg-stump. Two more for Strauss with a nurdle to mid-wicket, and Taylor has already adopted the teapot - he's not happy with this sandy run-up. Strauss skews a drive into the covers for one, before Cook watches a leg-side delivery thud into the wicket-keeper's gloves. Sounds like a right shambles out in Antigua - fans still queuing down the street, sand all over the shop, scoreboards rubbered, people strolling in front of the sight-screens. These boys couldn't run a bath.
"You've got to get your feet moving on this pitch, get yourself forward, otherwise you're going to get yourself in all sorts of trouble..."
Sir Geoffrey Boycott on TMS
"I reckon Morph would have made an excellent Bond. If only Tony Hart hadn't kept him locked away in a little box he coulda had class. He coulda been a contender. He coulda been somebody."
Dave, London, in the TMS inbox
West Indies: Chris Gayle (captain), Devon Smith, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Ryan Hinds, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Brendan Nash, Denesh Ramdin, Jerome Taylor, Sulieman Benn, Daren Powell, Fidel Edwards.
England: Andrew Strauss (captain), Alastair Cook, Owais Shah, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff, Matt Prior, Stuart Broad, Ryan Sidebottom, James Anderson, Monty Panesar.
Umpires: Daryl Harper, Australia, and Tony Hill, New Zealand.
TV/Third umpire: Rudi Koertzen, South Africa.
"Paul Collingwood to get a ton today, or maybe early tomorrow. He always does when he, and England have their backs against the wall."
Mark, Frindsbury, in the TMS inbox
"Agreed - King was the finest bass player of his or any generation - the most prominent thumb in rock, and cracking good hair to boot..."
Rishi, London, in the TMS inbox
1352: Did I mention it's Friday 13th? This pitch looks like the vandals have been at it with some lighter fluid and a set of matches. Sir Boycs is already getting into his stride on TMS, a Test between "two very ordinary teams..."
"What are the England team playing at? Looking at recent history, Bell needed to go and this was probably the time to do it. However, What about Colly who has been in worse form? At least Bell get's in. Colly's a walking wicketů Don't even get me started on Monty..."
Matt, disgruntled from London, in the TMS inbox
1349: Owais Shah has played two Tests, and one against West Indies at Lord's in 2007, when he scored six and four. He was a mere stand-in for Michael Vaughan on that occasion, but you'd hope he'd get a decent run this time. Surely no more chances for Bell in this series, he delivers about as often as Halley's Comet.
1348: Bit of sun coming through now and Jonathan Agnew assures us it's a "lovely morning" in Antigua. Looks like I've upset a few Dalton fans. Sorry. What about: "...would have been the worst selectorial decision since Mick Karn of Japan was given the nod to play bass ahead of Level 42's Mark King at the Prince's Trust Rock Gala in 1988"?
"Actually, Timothy Dalton was a wholly under-rated James Bond. His performances, often mistaken as wooden, managed to achieve the colder, edgier character that Bond was always meant to be, in contrast to the laughable Roger Moore-era Bond."
James Griffiths, Oxford, in the TMS inbox
"Going to have to disagree with you on Dalton - The Living Daylights was one of the better of the more recent Bond films if you ask me. Sam Neill would have been rubbish and you know it. Agree with Shah replacing Bell though."
Paul, at work in Chelsea, eating Apple Cake in the TMS inbox
"Hmm... ok then, very pleased to see Ian Bell dropped like the clanger he is and also Harmison - one fluked series against a weak team does not make you a great bowler. Would have liked to have seen Swann in place of Panesar but you can't have everything."
Victoria Biggs in the TMS inbox
1338: Only one change for West Indies - Ryan Hinds in for Xavier Marshall in the middle of the batting order. Only the second Test at this ground - the first was against Australia, and we think they lost, but we're looking that up. The hosts have not won back-to-back Tests - this one's a doozy - for a decade... "Was Jamaica the last time we'll see Harmison in an England shirt?" says the man opposite me. Discuss...
"Afternoon Ben. What a cheerful start. I understand the playing surface is a sand pit. Should give the Windies a boost as they are world beaters at beach cricket."
Angus from a sunny Guernsey in the TMS inbox
"When you've just been bowled out for 51, you want to get back out there as soon as you can to get over the horrors..."
Vic Marks on TMS
1332: News from Antigua is that it's a cloudy but warm morning in Antigua, and the outfield at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium has got so much sand sprinkled over it it looks like Woolacombe Beach. West Indies have won the toss and, somewhat surprisingly, have put England in to bat...
1330: TEAM FLASH: The bell has finally tolled for Ian Bell - he's out, Owais Shah is in, and not before time. If Bell had been picked ahead of Shah again, it would have been the worst piece of selection since Sam Neill was overlooked as the new James Bond in favour of Timothy Dalton. Wooden? Dalton made Morph look like Marlon Brando. In the only other change, Jimmy Anderson is in for Steve Harmison.
1325: Morning everyone, hope you're all well and I hope you'll all be able to get involved today. Half of you are probably doing nothing anyway, it being Friday, and the other half have probably taken another snow day. Dossers. Anyway, I might be the sort of person who would walk into a room full of flowers and start looking for the coffin, but surely I can't be the only one who thinks England aren't very good at the moment? And not just at cricket...