Play washed out again at Edgebaston

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iol spt june8 Rainy edgebaston2 REUTERS Rain saw play abandoned without a ball being bowled for the second successive day in the third and final Test between England and the West Indies at Edgbaston.

Birmingham, England – Rain saw play abandoned without a ball being bowled for the second successive day in the third and final Test between England and the West Indies at Edgbaston here on Friday.

It was the first time since 1964, during an Ashes clash between England and Australia at Lord's, that the first two days of a Test in England had been washed out without any play whatsoever.

After a fourth straight session was wiped out, the decision was taken Äwith rain still falling Ä shortly after the end of the scheduled lunch break at 1.50pm local time (1250GMT) to abandon play for the day.

Now the total refund bill to the 31,300 spectators who bought tickets for the first two days in total could exceed £1 million ($1.5 million), although the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are insured.

As the toss has yet to take place, neither side have named their team.

England, controversially, decided to rest spearhead seamer James Anderson from this match although, given the weather, it now appears an increasingly prudent decision ahead of a three-Test series against South Africa where their world number one ranking line will be on the line.

They also have the option to give Anderson's new-ball partner Stuart Broad, included in their 12-man squad, a break as well with back-up seamers Steven Finn and Graham Onions eager for Test action.

For the West Indies, Friday's washout gave key batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul an extra day to recover from a side strain, although it also reduced the time available to the tourists to improve on a record of just two wins in their last 32 Tests.

The uncapped Sunil Narine is in line to make his Test debut at Edgbaston in place of fellow spinner Shane Shillingford.

With Kemar Roach already ruled out with a shin injury, either Tino Best or Fidel Edwards could take the new ball alongside Ravi Rampaul.

But top-order batsman Kirk Edwards, who has scored four noughts in eight innings this tour, may be dropped.

England have an unbeatable 2-0 lead in this three-match series, with this match representing West Indies' last chance this tour to win a Test in England for the first time since 2000.

Not since 1954, when England played Pakistan at Lord's, have the first three days of a Test in England all been washed out with no play at all.

However, Saturday is expected to be dry, before the rain returns on Sunday. – Sapa-AFP

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