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Page last updated at 15:09 GMT, Friday, 15 May 2009 16:09 UK

Play washed out at the Riverside

Second Test (no play Friday, rain):
England 302-2 v West Indies
Venue: Riverside Stadium, Chester-le-Street Dates: 14-18 May
Start time: 1100 BST Coverage: Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, Radio 4 LW, Red Button and online, with live text commentary on the BBC Sport website & mobiles. Live on Sky Sports

A few hardy spectators braved the conditions
A few hardy spectators braved the conditions

Heavy rain washed out the second day's play in the second Test between England and West Indies at the Riverside without a ball being bowled.

Rain fell overnight and with the bad weather continuing throughout the day, the umpires abandoned play at 1605 BST.

England, who lead the two-match series 1-0, made 302-2 on day one, with Essex batsmen Alastair Cook and Ravi Bopara each hitting centuries.

Saturday's forecast is much better but showers could return in the afternoon.

The 5,000 people who had bought tickets for the second day will be eligible for free entry on the remaining days, although availability is likely to be limited on Saturday with a 16,000 full house expected.

There is further uncertainty about conditions for Sunday and Monday, which is unfortunate for the region where the weather has been good for much of the early season.

Friday's washout, which came after just 5,000 spectators watched the action on Thursday, was a blow to organisers and again raised the question of why May Test matches are scheduled in summers packed with so much more enticing international action.

Geoffrey Boycott was angry with the state of pitch, which gave the bowlers so little encouragement, and the decision to choose the Durham venue for an international match so early in the season.

The England batting great told BBC Sport: "This can't be the same sort of pitch on which Durham won the County Championship last year, because the ball moved around a little bit and it was spicy and interesting for bowlers and batsmen.

"Why are you having Test matches in the very north of England at this time of year? You've got to be wrong in your head. Everyone in the country knows it's warmer down south. They've not come because it's too cold to sit.

"Administrators don't care, they're only interested in television revenue. It's bad for cricket because it doesn't look good. Give the television, the radio, the sponsors some money back and let's all gear up for the Ashes and make it a promotional man's dream - but no, it's money gone mad."

Durham County Cricket Club believes the prices of tickets, ranging from £30 to £60, could be reduced but it is prevented from doing so because of the bidding process to stage international events.

"Clearly, the tickets are not flying out of the door," conceded chief executive David Harker in an interview before the Test started. "You have to look at their price and wonder whether maybe we have reached the limit of that.

BBC Sport's Oliver Brett

"They are set in conjunction with the ECB, and the challenge is that we have to bid for the games. That bid has the function of deciding the size of ticket price.

"If the game were to move to looking at lower-priced tickets - which I would certainly support - that has to be reflected in the bidding process as well."

The England and Wales Cricket Board was forced to defend itself after choosing to start the Lord's Test on a Wednesday. That finished in three days, meaning refunds for thousands who had bought tickets in advance for the weekend.

Chris Gayle may not have minded missing out on Friday. The West Indies captain revealed in the lead-up to the match that he would not be sorry to see the death of Test cricket.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a sell-out and that's a great achievement for the club

Paul Collingwood

But England all-rounder Paul Collingwood, a Durham player, said the low-key atmosphere had to be put to one side.

"Our focus as players is to go out and perform for England," he told TMS. "It never enters our minds that this a dull day. This is Test match cricket and our approach and attitude is to go out and perform and try to win games.

"It would be great to get the ground at least three-quarters full but with the way things are at the moment and the way the weather was you are going to have a few empty seats.

"Saturday is supposed to be a sell-out and that's a great achievement for the club."

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see also
Cook & Bopara flay ragged Windies
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Jonathan Agnew column
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Eng v WI: Second Test day one photos
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Strauss hits back over Gayle row
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Jonathan Agnew column
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England hungry for Ashes momentum
12 May 09 |  England
England seal emphatic Lord's win
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Strauss happy with 'clinical' win
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Windies lost plot, reveals Gayle
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Windies begin tour without stars
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Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
West Indies in England 2009
04 Dec 08 |  Cricket
West Indies legends video archive
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