When the umpires called off play shortly before 5:00pm (8:00pm UAE time) for the second Test between England and India, it was the first time that a full day’s play at ‘The Home of Cricket’ was lost since the 2001 Test against Pakistan.
Here, we look back at some of England’s notable matches in which the first day’s play was lost.
1964 – England v Australia, Lord’s
You have to go back to more than four decades for England to experience the feeling of not getting out on the field on the first day. It came in the second Ashes Test with the rain so bad that it even washed out the second day. When play did begin on day three, the hosts bowled Australia out for 176 as Fred Trueman took 5-48. England made 246 in their chase before the tourists salvaged a draw, reaching stumps for 168-4.
2001 – England v Pakistan, Lord’s
The start of the two-match series but instead of the game beginning on the Thursday, the players were out on the field on Friday due to rain in London. England batted first scoring 391 but Pakistan suffered with the bat as Darren Gough took five wickets in their first innings total of 203, before failing again to lose by an innings and nine runs.
2007 – England v West Indies, Chester-le-Street
The weather proved to be a good omen for the national team and it wasn’t back until a decade ago that an England match didn’t start on the first day. West Indies were the opposition with umpires deciding to call off play at 12.30pm. England went on to win the match by seven wickets to clinch the series 3-0.
2012 – England vs West Indies, Edgbaston
The same two teams were again frustrated five years later at Edgbaston. Umpires Kumar Dharmasena and Tony Hill waited until 3:35pm to call off play. It was the first full Test match day to be washed out in England since the 2009 Ashes Test.
2013 – England vs New Zealand, Headingley
The following year, there was more misery when the opening day against New Zealand was washed out at Headingley. When the toss was done on day two, Alastair Cook decided to bat with England closing play on 337-7. They managed to score 354 but New Zealand fared much worse having been bowled out for 174. Eventually Cook’s 130 saw them win by 247 runs.
Almost two hours before play was scheduled to finish, the opening day of the second Test was abandoned without a single ball being bowled.
Umpires made the decision at 4.49pm local time (7.49pm UAE time) after rain had hit London.
Forecast poor weather moved in by 10am, and the ground remained under full cover two hours later – leaving the prospects of any play before lunch highly unlikely.
The outlook was bleak for much of Thursday, in fact, allowing both teams extra time to assess their selection conundrums.
They have each left open the option of picking two spinners, on a pitch previously baked by this summer’s protracted heatwave.
But under cloud cover, they may revert to predominantly seam attacks.
England, who announced on the eve of this Test that 20-year-old batsman Ollie Pope will make his debut here at number four, lead the five-match series 1-0 after their thrilling 31-run win at Edgbaston last weekend.
Pope has never batted in the top five in the County Championship but will make his Test debut at Lord’s as a direct replacement for Middlesex left-hander Dawid Malan.
The 20-year-old has played only 15 first-class matches in his fledgling career but his 684 championship runs at an average of 85.5 this season thrust him into England contention.
Root confirmed Pope’s inclusion in the XI and said Essex seamer Jamie Porter would miss out.
However, conditions on Thursday morning will dictate whether spinner Moeen Ali or seamer Chris Woakes is drafted in to replace Ben Stokes, absent this week because of his ongoing court case in Bristol.
“We’ve got a 12. Jamie Porter is the unlucky one to miss out,” Root said. “With the surface as it is, having looked at it today, we’re going to leave it another 24 hours and then make a decision in the morning.
“Ollie will come in and bat at four. He’s obviously batted at six for Surrey this season – but having seen him play a little bit, and the way his game is set up, I think it’s very much transferable to bat at number four in Test cricket.
Against Dale Steyn, Kyle Abbott, Stuart Broad, Fidel Edwards and Tim Bresnan in the County Championship this season, Ollie Pope has averaged 98 and scored at 4.66rpo. #EngvInd— Ben Jones (@benjonescricket) August 5, 2018
“I know that might be seen as quite a big jump. But he’s obviously an exciting talent and, with the guys around him, I think he fits nicely into that position in our team.”
Root spoke in glowing terms of a batsman who last winter was commended in a New South Wales parliamentary speech after a successful stint with Campbelltown-Camden in Sydney grade cricket. “He’s very mature for a young man,” Root said.
“I can see that he thinks about the game a lot and has a very good understanding of where he’s at within his own game – which is a really good sign in a young man, coming into this environment. I hope that will stand him in really good stead.”
Above all, though, Root hopes the youngster can replicate the form he has shown for Surrey this year as England look to build on last week’s thrilling 31-run victory over India at Edgbaston.
“I think he’s performed exceptionally well this season in County Championship cricket,” Root added.
“He’s played some very important knocks under pressure for Surrey, and he’s got a very good all-round game. That’s a very exciting prospect for such a young man, to have the ability to play in that manner.
“I’m looking forward to him, more than anything, just going out there and being himself – and playing exactly as he has done throughout this summer.”