Wet outfield delays England vs Windies in 1st ODI

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

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MANCHESTER, United Kingdom (AFP) — The scheduled start of the first one-day international between England and West Indies at Old Trafford on Tuesday has been delayed because of a wet outfield.

While the umpires were happy with the state of the pitch, they were concerned by certain sections of the outfield near the square following persistent overnight rain.

The day/night match was due to start at 12:30pm local time (1130 GMT) but shortly before what should have been a 12:00pm toss, the umpires announced they would hold a further inspection at 1:00pm (1200 GMT) in a bid to allow more time for the ground to dry.

"We're a little bit concerned as there are a few patches where it's very soft, and the captains share our concerns," said umpire Tim Robinson.

"But the sun's coming out and hopefully it will improve," the former England opening batsman explained.

"The ground staff have done a terrific job to get it to this stage. We'll probably put a blanket of sawdust down on those areas."

Robinson's on-field colleague Simon Fry said: "We've got to give it every opportunity to improve -- player safety is our main concern.

"The run-ups are pretty good, it's going to be those areas adjacent to the square which we're worried about," the Australian umpire added.

Following their victory in the lone Twenty20 of their tour at a chilly and wet Durham on Saturday, West Indies Twenty20 captain Carlos Brathwaite revealed his side had been close to walking off because of the slippery conditions.

This is England's first ODI match since their eight-wicket Champions Trophy semi-final defeat by eventual tournament winners Pakistan in Cardiff on June.

It's also the first of a five-match series that West Indies need to win 5-0, or 4-0 with a tie or no-result, if they are to gain direct entry for the 2019 World Cup in England.

A failure to do so would mean West Indies, the 1975 and 1979 World Cup champions, would have to enter a qualifying tournament instead.

But the odds are stacked against West Indies, who did not feature in the Champions Trophy because they were not ranked among the world's top eight ODI sides, as they have lost 12 of their last 13 completed matches against England at this level.

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