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Play rained off on day three of third Test

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-02

Persistent rain caused play to be abandoned on the third day of the third Ashes Test between England and Australia on Saturday. On Friday, England were 116 for 2 in reply to Australia's first innings 263 - a deficit of 147.

AFP - The third day's play in the third Ashes Test between England and Australia at Edgbaston here on Saturday was abandoned without a ball being bowled because of persistent rain.

Overnight and early morning rain meant the pitch and square were fully covered when the game, which had already been affected by bad weather, should have been re-starting at 11:00am local time (1000GMT).

Umpires Rudi Koertzen and Aleem Dar held several inspections before a fresh downpour ended what slim chance there had been of play, with deep pools of water lying on the outfield, at 2:38pm local time (1338GMT).

England, 1-0 up in the five-match series after their 115-run second Test victory at Lord's, were 116 for two in reply to Australia's first innings 263 - a deficit of 147.

England captain Andrew Strauss, who made a century at Lord's, was 64 not out and Ian Bell, returning to Test cricket on his Warwickshire home ground after Kevin Pietersen's series-ending Achilles injury, was unbeaten on 26.

Australia collapsed spectacularly on Friday against impressive swing bowling after resuming on the 126 for one they made in what play was possible on Thursday's opening day.

James Anderson took his Ashes-best figures of five wickets for 80 runs from 24 overs and Graham Onions, who grabbed two wickets with the first two balls of Friday's play, also enjoyed a Test-best haul against Australia of four for 58 from 16.4 overs.

Stand-in opener Shane Watson, recalled after Phillip Hughes was dropped, top-scored with 62.

Australia captain Ricky Ponting became his country's leading Test run-scorer and moved into third in the all-time list while making 38 as he surpassed retired former skipper Allan Border's mark of 11,174 runs.

But of more concern to the 34-year-old Tasmanian, who having been in charge of the losing side here in 2005 now risks becoming just the second captain of Australia to oversee two Ashes series defeats in England after Billy Murdoch more than a century ago.

Thursday's first two sessions were washed out while on Friday bad light and rain took a further 19 overs out of the game.

Ashes-holders Australia, who won 5-0 on home soil in 2006/07, will have to try to make the running if a positive result is to be achieved here against an England side who, at 1-0 up, will not want to give their oldest rivals a sniff of victory.

If this match does end in a draw, England will be 1-0 up with two to play ahead of next week's fourth Test at Headingley and the fifth Test at the Oval.

Date created : 2009-08-01

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