What is a day out at an English cricket ground without some rain? After weeks of insufferably hot weather, London awoke to a persistent, infuriating drizzle, which washed out the first day of the second Test at Lord's.
A near-full-house watched and waited in hope as the rain started early in the morning and simply did not relent. More than an hour before the scheduled start of play, the MCC's members queued up by the Grace Gate, in their prim suits and bacon-and-egg ties. Sachin Tendulkar, it was announced, would ring the five-minute bell before the start of play; Sunil Gavaskar, M. A. K. Pataudi, Dilip Vengsarkar, Rahul Dravid, Kapil Dev and Sourav Ganguly are the other Indian internationals to have been accorded the honour.
All was in readiness but it was just another cold, soggy, miserable English morning: summer as they know it here. Some spectators paid a visit to the MCC museum, which was open for free to those inside the ground; others headed to the library; while some others partook of a cold beverage or two, undeterred by the weather.
Lunch was taken early, but the rain simply did not stop. A few Indian players, including Virat Kohli, headed to the MCC's gym, while some of their English counterparts had a hit in the indoor nets. All day, the ground-staff worked relentlessly, clearing any water standing on the covers. The rain was a constant irritant, now slowing down, now growing heavier, refusing to stop. Head Groundsman Mick Hunt stood in the outfield surveying operations; this has been some start to his last Test.
The umpires, Aleem Dar and Marais Erasmus, walked out under their umbrellas at (what would ordinarily have been) tea-time, but they quickly retreated after a chat with the ground-staff. There was a second inspection at 4:30 p.m. local time and a third at 4:45, when play was officially called off for the day.
The forecast for Friday is better, with sunshine expected in the morning and light showers – if any – late in the afternoon. The forecast for Saturday and Sunday is similarly good but more wet weather is predicted for Monday. It remains to be seen if the rain has affected the teams' plans for the match. The toss is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. local time on Friday, with play set to start at 11 a.m. as normal. The close of play will be extended by 30 minutes, however.
India has played 17 Tests at Lord's, winning two and losing 11. The team won on its last visit to the ground, four years ago, when Ajinkya Rahane scored a century and Ishant Sharma took seven for 74.
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