SOUTHAMPTON, Saturday, August 15, 2020 (AFP/WNP/DL): Rain meant there was no play before lunch on the third day of the second Test between England and Pakistan at Southampton on Saturday in a match already plagued by stoppages for bad weather.
Play should have resumed at 11:00am local time but light rain meant the pitch and square remained fully covered, with the floodlights then on full beam.
Had the players been on the field, play may well have continued given the rain was only of the ‘spitting’ kind.
But, with no spectators present in the series being played behind closed doors because of the coronavirus, the floodlights were then switched off in a clear indication the umpires had decided there would not be any action before lunch.
Pakistan, 1-0 down in the three-match series, will resume on 223-9 in their first innings, after winning the toss, following a second day where only 40 overs’ play took place.
Mohammad Rizwan batted with huge skill and resolve in overcast, swing-friendly conditions, to be 60 not out.
In partnership with dogged tailender Mohammad Abbas (two off 20 balls), the wicketkeeper took Pakistan past 200 in a ninth-wicket stand after they had come together with the tourists struggling at 176-8.
This was Rizwan’s second fifty in eight career Tests following his 95 against Australia in Brisbane in November.
Pakistan were also indebted to opener Abid Ali (60) and Babar Azam (47) for painstaking innings when the conditions were stacked against the batsmen.
Meanwhile in-form paceman Stuart Broad became the first England bowler since off-spinner Graeme Swann 11 years ago to take at least three wickets in seven consecutive Test innings thanks to a return of 3-56 in 25 overs.
Broad has taken 25 wickets in four Tests so far this season at a miserly average of 12.88.
Victory in this match will see England secure their first series win over Pakistan since 2010.