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Page last updated at 21:14 GMT, Thursday, 21 May 2009 22:14 UK

England one-day match called off

England v West Indies: First one-day international, Headingley:
Match abandoned - waterlogged outfield

The conditions for spectators were miserable at Headingley
The conditions for spectators were miserable in the morning

An expensive new drainage system failed to prevent an abandonment in the first one-day international at Headingley.

England's match against West Indies was called off at 1500 BST, long after the rain had stopped, because the surface water could not be removed.

Headingley recently underwent a £600,000 resurfacing operation, which included a new drainage system.

But the England and Wales Cricket Board admitted it would not reach its "full potential" until later in the summer.

As well as Headingley, every other first-class ground received £600,000 from the ECB to fund new drainage systems, while Lord's has invested £1m on a "Rolls Royce" system.

But former England all-rounder Dominic Cork questioned why the drainage work had been carried out ahead of the World Twenty20 and the Ashes series rather than delaying it.

"On Wednesday I played at Trent Bridge and I spoke to Notts player who told if we have one bad shower they wouldn't be able to play," Cork, who plays for Hampshire, told BBC Radio 5 Live.

But Gordon Hollins, ECB head of venue partnerships, is confident the investment will prove worthwhile.

"We will see the benefits of the system over the summer that will justify the investment," said Hollins. "We've got some big cricket this summer. It's not months and months, it's going to take a few weeks for these systems to bed down."

Umpires Steve Davis and Nigel Llong had hoped to get a shortened 20-overs-a-side match under way at 1630 at Headingley.

But having made an initial inspection at 1400, and a further one an hour later, it was clear that the water had barely drained away at all - and the unpleasant news had to be broken to spectators, who will have to be refunded.

Davis said: "There's still a lot of water around and there's too much of a risk to players."

Torrential morning showers had saturated the outfield, and despite regular trips made by the "supersopper" machines, the groundstaff had been fighting a losing battle.

The announcement of the abandonment came under sunny skies and was received by a perplexed sell-out crowd who booed the voice on the public address system.

Moments later, the England squad attempted to placate the public by lapping the boundary perimeter to sign autographs and chat.

606: DEBATE

England, without star batsman Kevin Pietersen because of an Achilles injury, had been hoping to build on their comprehensive 2-0 Test series victory.

Now they must try to win the remaining two matches in the series, at Bristol on Sunday and Edgbaston on Tuesday.

England captain Andrew Strauss said he was happy that the umpires had called the match off despite not consulting the captains.

"I think it was the right decision," he said. "There are some areas of the pitch where the water is still coming up. The sun comes out, everyone thinks you should be out there playing but unfortunately the outfield is still very wet.

"We really feel for the spectators because they turned up today excited about seeing a day's cricket and weren't able to do that."

Once our system has bedded in, once it has aerated... then of course it will improve

Yorkshire boss Stewart Regan

Stewart Regan, Yorkshire's chief executive, said no ground in the country could have coped with the morning showers with the exception of Lord's.

Regan said: "The only ground that has got a Rolls Royce drainage system is Lord's. They have put a layer of rocks immediately below the turf which does allow a much faster drainage system, but you can't play every cricket match at Lord's.

"We've had torrential rain twice in the space of 12 hours. Once our system has bedded in, once it has aerated, once the project manager team continue to treat it then of course it will improve."



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see also
Eng v WI: 1st ODI as it happened
21 May 09 |  England
Pietersen out of one-day series
20 May 09 |  England
Gayle targeting Windies fightback
18 May 09 |  West Indies
Morton drafted into Windies squad
16 May 09 |  West Indies
Anderson inspires England victory
18 May 09 |  England
Flintoff inspires England triumph
03 Apr 09 |  Cricket
West Indies in England 2009
21 May 09 |  Cricket
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
West Indies legends video archive
14 May 07 |  West Indies


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