Second Twenty20 international, Old Trafford:
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MATCH ABANDONED BECAUSE OF UNFIT OUTFIELD
Right, I'm going to call it a night. Not a great evening for cricket, I'm sure you'll all agree... night...
"What a farce, why schedule international cricket for Manchester in September? It's hard enough to get a dry day in June, let alone September! Build a cricket stadium here in East Anglia, it's been dry here for weeks on end!" Paul, Suffolk, in the TMS inbox
"Ben, it's days like this cricket shoots itself in the foot. This is on a par with the farce in the West Indies, and Old Trafford will take a lot to come back from this. The ICC shoot themselves in the foot too, by cramping the fixture calendar so much they can't even allow reserve days. Completely and utterly ridiculous." Kevin, Wigan, in the TMS inbox
This raises a pertinent question as to the meaning of top-level sport - both captains seem to be of the opinion that, because this is international cricket, they can't play. But when does sport stop being an entertainment? International cricket is surely still an entertainment? The players play to entertain people who pay big money for the privilege, not for their own averages or whatever? And if you've got 25,000 fans in, surely you've got an obligation to play, short run-ups, spinners only, bowling from what end, whatever? More importantly, why on earth were the run-ups wet at all?
"We obviously wanted to get out there and play, but you you have to be realistic, it's unfit for international cricket. The run-ups are a crucial area and quite a lot of water has got onto there, and if you've got 90mph bowlers, it's not going to be safe. It's an international cricket match and you have to take a brave decision. There's an obligation to the fans, we were desperate to get out there, but the conditions have taken over." England skipper Paul Collingwood
"Unfortunately the ground's just not fit enough. Both teams wanted to play but because of the safety of the players, we made the right decision. It doesn't feel sturdy under my feet, so it wouldn't be safe for Brett Lee coming into bowl. We want to play every game, but safety comes first and I agree with the decision." Australia skipper Michael Clarke
The problem seems to be one small area in the bowlers' run-up at the Brian Statham End. Twenty-five thousand in at Old Trafford, and they're watching a middle-aged man poke at a piece of mud with his umbrella... and I'm just hearing it's off... disastrous, a whole game off because of one small area of mud... it's at times like this that cricket comes across as more stupid than boxing... you'd never know Old Trafford was fighting for its international future...
Right, the umpires have had an inspection and the news is... dunno, they're keeping it a secret, I'll tell you what's what in a minute...
"Sat at Old Trafford waiting for the match to start. It has been playable for an hour now. It is like the umpires are willing the rain to come. Sunday was another case in point when it took the umpires 25 minutes to come out and inspect after it has stopped raining. Cricket needs to wake up and smell the coffee. You cannot treat people like this when they have paid big money for tickets."G-man in the TMS inbox
(see below) - yes, exactly, problem solved, just get your quicks to have run-ups as long as the spinners. Just get out there and play - Paul Allott says it's playable, Jeff Thomson says it playable, Greg Blewett says it's playable. Cricket, like any sport, is an entertainment, people pay lots of money to watch it, the fact that someone "might get injured" shouldn't really be an issue.
"Ben, it isn't nonsense. Running in and coming to a crashing stop with a violent jump, twirl and lunge of the body can be extremely dangerous in the wet. It has nothing to do with footwear. I played cricket for a British university and have played it on a wet slippery surface. Us pace bowlers had to have a run up as long as our spinners - except we were a lot less effective." Ben, Kenya (Back to Britain next week), in the TMS inbox
"What a complete farce! Cricket in Manchester in September. What a no- brainer. Nothing short of ludicrous. The entire board of the ECB (or whatever they call themselves now) should resign tonight." Disgusted of Exmoor in the TMS inbox
The equivalent of this in chess would be turning up to watch Spassky v Fischer and having to hang about for a couple of hours because the board's too dusty. Players chatting to Umpire Llong, no-one seems to understand why they're not playing now... the groundstaff sawdusting the bowlers' run-ups now, another inspection at 1945 BST...
Jeff Thomson doesn't see what the problem is - "they should be playing on it right now", says the former Australian paceman. You know what the most ridiculous thing is? Basically this game isn't happening because the players haven't got the right footwear. It's Twenty20, stick some footy boots on, get a hairdryer on the bowlers' run-ups, and get on with it. "Too precious," opines Rodney Hogg on TMS.
"Ben, I went on Sunday afternoon. Total shambles. My sympathy for OT losing its Test status went the same way as Denly. I can't believe there hasn't been more backlash about the total lack of facilities and how these internationals should never have been awarded to OT in its current state." Stuart Campbell in the TMS inbox
"Was at the game on Sunday and have to say, extremely disappointed with the officials for not starting the second innings on schedule. Australia were batting in worse during their innings... Doesn't help that I travelled from Brussels for the game either!" Winner (back in Brussels) in the TMS inbox
"The point of the 'five-over farce' is that 10 overs means ticket holders don't get a refund. Imagine most ticket holders' hearts sink once the magic 9.5 is passed, but they only get another ball for their 50 quid (plus parking, plus chips, plus drinks)."Kate in the TMS inbox
Little bit weird to be honest - bright sun now at Old Trafford, but the outfield's still deemed too wet and the covers remain on. I don't really understand all this "players might get injured if its wet" nonsense. When was the last time you saw a footballer or rugby player running clear down the wing on a greasy pitch, stack it and injure himself?
Village changes the rules of cricket
Myles, Bored at work in London, has just sent this in, about a man who bought a house next to a cricket pitch and then decided he didn't like cricket balls being hit into his garden...
The latest we can start in Manchester is 2140 BST. That being the case, they'd be able to get a five-over farce in. Paul Collingwood and Michael Clarke might as well just have an arm wrestle now and be done with it...
The umpires are having an inspection at 1900 BST - definitely no play before 2000 BST, says umpire Nigel Llong, adding that there's "a fair chance" there will be no play at all. Anyone for Buckaroo?
Paul Collingwood looking to make an impact today to cement his place as skipper. Is he the man to take England to next April's World Twenty20? Is there anyone else? News from Aggers on Twitter: "Bring a mac and you might see some cricket," he says, adding that the skies are clearing. Just seen some pics, and, while not exactly balmy, it looks playable...
From Jobson on 606:
"I just want Dirk Nannes back at Middlesex. Other than that I'd like to see Rashid in the team, we need to start playing two spinners in limited overs games, but I can't see the selectors changing the squad.
Hi. Second Twenty20 match in Manchester this evening, the weather people say it's going to rain, but I've no confirmation as yet. Rain or no rain, Brett Lee's likely to be extremely frustrated and extremely angry...