England’s abandonment of their final international match of the summer against Ireland led to calls for the England and Wales Cricket Board to help supply hover covers to ensure grounds can dry quicker.
A 40-minute shower saw England’s one-day international against Ireland abandoned at 3.21pm, ending England’s hopes of pushing for a record-breaking total after surging to 280-4, with Ben Duckett making a century and Phil Salt hitting an electric 61. The abandonment came after 31 overs - just one over above the cutoff for spectators to receive a partial refund.
There were also farcical scenes last Wednesday when the first ODI against Ireland at Headingley was called off just before 5pm without a ball being bowled even though rain had stopped just after 2pm, 90 minutes after the scheduled start time.
“We’d love a hover cover, I think every ground in the country would,” said Gloucestershire chief executive Will Brown, who warned that cricket needed to find better ways to adapt to disruptive weather. He suggested that using artificial pitches - which are more durable against rain - could help.
“We need to box a bit clever with what we do. “It worries me greatly that this is a sign of things to come. We’ve got a lot of cricket being played in September next year and with climate change we’ve seen heavy rain in June and July. I think the game needs to be thinking innovatively about how we get games on or prepare pitches and surfaces using different things to get cricket away.”
This was the fourth consecutive ODI at Bristol that has either been abandoned before a ball was bowled or called a no-result. Next year England play an international at Bristol even later, with the final match of a five-game ODI series against Australia played at the Seat Unique Stadium on September 29.
While the shower at Bristol was extremely heavy, the match was called off five hours before the allocated close of play. Later in the afternoon, the County Ground was bathed in sunshine. When the rain began, it took around a minute to cover the pitch, while ground staff appeared to struggle to get the covers on during a period of vicious winds.
Brown said that overnight rain meant that the covers were still heavy, making them difficult to put onto the pitch quicker. He also said that the club employed more than twice as many ground staff as normal for the ODI.
“We always had the sense that if we had something similar to last night, 20-30 minutes of rain could be what killed it off. You can see all along the bottom of the square the water is running off in big puddles,” he said.
“It was hard conditions for them. You could see by how the covers were moving that it was pretty tough for them. It is one thing getting the covers on speedily, but in those conditions it is a different ball game altogether. They were certainly heavy and wet from this morning.
“The conditions last night were shocking. The covers were heavy and wet and they were trying to move them in tough conditions.”
The hasty abandonment “caught everybody by surprise,” England’s captain Zak Crawley said.
“Anytime you’re gonna get rain this late in September, anywhere you’re playing I think you’re gonna be in a bit of trouble. So you just kind of take that punt and unfortunately, today it didn’t come off.”
The abandonment ended England’s hopes of reaching a record-breaking ODI score. At 280-4 off 31 overs, England needed another 219 to beat the world record of 498-4 they set in an ODI against Netherlands in Amstelveen last year.
“We’re pleased with how we played,” Crawley said after England’s 1-0 victory in his first series as captain. “We played in the right way - you’ve got to be aggressive from start to finish playing for this England team if you want to even get thought about for selection.”
England vs Ireland: as it happened
04:08 PM BST
England win the series 1-0
Which makes it three series victories in succession for Matthew Mott’s side, having defeated Bangladesh (away) and New Zealand at home with a first-team and now Ireland with the possibles and hopefuls.
03:47 PM BST
Why was the match called off so soon?
A lot of questions being asked of what the match was abandoned so hastily – as heavy as the rain was, the decision was made when we could have had over five hours of play left. The questions centre upon why it seemed to take about a minute to cover the pitch and the struggle to get the covers on – during a period of vicious winds. We expect a statement from Gloucestershire soon.
03:44 PM BST
Matthew Mott flies to India tomorrow
Here he is with his parting thoughts on England’s white-ball summer and their prospects at the World Cup:
"It was a really positive way to approach the game!" 🗣️
"There's an exciting few years ahead!" 🏴
Matthew Mott reflects on the rain-affected Ireland series pic.twitter.com/QVPTZlCeAY
— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) September 26, 2023
03:23 PM BST
The pitch is too wet to have any hope of salvaging a fair match.
03:20 PM BST
It has stopped raining and the umpires are out
Lots of mopping up to be done before they can make any decision, though.
Ah ... it seems to have started to rain again.
03:08 PM BST
It's still raining
The fear isn’t that it won’t stop. The problem is the amount of water on the outfield and how quickly can it be made safe for bowlers and fielders to run on without slipping.
03:01 PM BST
See the strength of the storm
Rain stops play! ☔
A storm has arrived in Bristol and the players are off! pic.twitter.com/iFEkWTs1q9
— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) September 26, 2023
02:53 PM BST
Rain stops play: ENG 282/4
It’s absolutely siling it down. The outfield was already damp from overnight rain and Bristol doesn’t have the same standard of covers as the Test grounds. Large, worrying puddles on the outfield now.
Sky is reporting that its radar suggests it will last for 30 minutes. If it remains as heavy as this we are in trouble. The bowler’s run ups will be drenched and there was already plenty of moisture in the outfield before play started. Several Ireland players have been using implements to hook the mud from the soles of their boots to give the sprigs more purchase.
02:52 PM BST
OVER 31: ENG 282/4 (Duckett 107)
The players grab a drink on the dismissal of Hain and a storm strikes. A heavy one too.
Duckett started the over with a clobbering pull in front of square for four.
Surely England should have a reserve player or two on standby in the UAE in case one or more of the 15 players are injured or ill? At the moment they are planning to have several on call in England.
And Ben Duckett might have eased ahead of Jason Roy as the ideal reserve batsman after his 72 ball century. The shot which brought up his hundred was magical, just a flick of the wrists to send it for six over long-off. Duckett has been a right handed Harry Brook on song or even fire.
02:49 PM BST
Hain c Van Woerkom b Young 17 Hit the ignition button, used his feet to try to hit the right-armer over the top but Young dragged his length back and made Hain swipe it to mid-on. FOW 280/4
02:46 PM BST
OVER 30: ENG 272/3 (Duckett 101 Hain 16)
Duckett brings up his first international white-ball hundred with a towering six over long off, using his wrists to get under it and almost chip it over the rope insouciantly on one knee. That’s a 72-ball hundred and it was brought up after a reverse sweep for two that veered closer to a reverse pull.
The ground staff are mustered around the boundary with a storm due though there is hope that it will skirt the ground.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) September 26, 2023
02:42 PM BST
OVER 29: ENG 262/3 (Duckett 92 Hain 15)
And Young does a similar job to Dockrell, holding them to five singles though Hain rode his luck with a top-edged pull that fell short of the fielder.
02:37 PM BST
OVER 28: ENG 257/3 (Duckett 90 Hain 12)
Dockrell slams on the brakes ... to some extent. They milk the spinner for five singles which is a triumph of sorts given Ireland have leaked none an over so far.
Stirling turns back to Young to partner Dockrell.
02:32 PM BST
OVER 27: ENG 252/3 (Duckett 88 Hain 9)
Duckett takes on Van Woerkom with the sweep and cuffs it for four, then cuts in front fo square for another, hustles a drive off the toe for four more then spears one past mid-off for a fourth consecutive four. Mark Adair crashes into the digital advertising screen with his knees when failing just to claw back the fourth of them before the rope. He needs some help to get back up.
Duckett moves to 88 off 62.
Every chance opening is Zak Crawley’s eventual position in ODIs, but now has two 50s at number 3 - both at over a-run-a-ball: 39 ball effort today almost seems calm after the chaos earlier. 200 up for England in the 23rd over (!) - plenty of scope for more record-breaking later.
02:27 PM BST
OVER 26: ENG 233/3 (Duckett 72 Hain 6)
Time at last for Dockrell, Ireland’s best bowler at Trent Bridge and he starts by establishing some control as Duckett runs through his arrays of sweeps for three and Hain smears two singles to the cover sweeper.
02:25 PM BST
OVER 25: ENG 227/3 (Duckett 68 Hain 4)
Van Woerkom is dumped beyond cow corner, into the woods and beyond, by Duckett for a steepling six. That’s another lost ball and another delay. An earlier slog sweep had brought the pocket rocket two.
02:23 PM BST
OVER 24: ENG 216/3 (Duckett 58 Hain 3)
Represents Little’s Best over as he goes for a modest 10 when Duckett pulls a shirt balk hard for four, and swats another for three. Hain triples his score with a push to the cover sweeper and another eased back straight.
02:14 PM BST
OVER 23: ENG 206/3 (Duckett 50 Hain 1)
Fifty for Duckett, too, with a chunky sweep that rifles away square for four and a single, clipped off his pads raises the century partnership, too. But Crawley can’t help him add to it, falling next ball. Clever bowling from the debutant.
02:12 PM BST
Crawley c Young b Van Woerkhom 51 Crawley stepped away to try to mow it over midwicket but the bowler tossed it wider, found the edge and short third too the catch. FOW 205/3
02:10 PM BST
OVER 22: ENG 199/2 (Crawley 50 Duckett 45)
Who’s the bigger sadist, the England batsmen or Paul Stirling, who turns back to Josh Little who has figures of 3-0-46-0 at the start of his second spell.
Crawley brings up his fifty off 39 balls after slapping a cut for two, flogging a six out of the slot when the left-arm quick went round the wicket and top-edging a pull for two. This must be torture for Little. It’s a postage stamp of a ground but he can’t find a way to stop then freeing their arms. Must feel like a diabolical liberty, in the words of Arthur Daley, to be treated like this.
England’s third-wicket pair have blocked and nudged and nurdled - all these things are relative - yet England have still reached 176-2 off 20 overs, having posted the first 100 off only eight overs. Now we are harking back to the Ashes series when Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett purred along at five per over.
England’s first 500 in Odis still a possibility, with 498 to beat.
02:05 PM BST
OVER 21: ENG 186/2 (Crawley 39 Duckett 43)
Over the wicket to the left-hander. Van Woerkhom is cut for two and flicked off his pads for a single. He comes round to Crawley and serves up a low full toss on his pads that Crawley pummels through midwicket fir four. Three more singles are taken with sweeps and reverses though the last of them could have cost Crawley his off-stump as it scuttled off the bottom edge and shivers the timbers.
02:02 PM BST
OVER 20: ENG 176/2 (Crawley 33 Duckett 39)
Duckett holds the pose when he drills an on-drive and it screams past the non-striker’s stumps for four. Earlier, when Campher dropped short, Duckett was on in a flash and carved a cut in front of square for another boundary. He has overtaken his partner now.
Time for the left-arm spin of Kiwi-born debutant Theo Van Woerkom.
01:57 PM BST
OVER 19: ENG 165/2 (Crawley 33 Duckett 28)
Fabulous comeback from Adair after that first-over mauling. Merely a single off it, from Duckett using the angle to tickle a single off his pads, but Adair successfully cramps Crawley by firing it into his legs off a heavy length.
01:54 PM BST
OVER 18: ENG 164/2 (Crawley 33 Duckett 27)
Of all four batsmen seen so far, Duckett has seemed the least fluent and yet here he is middling it now, lamping a pull off Campher for four then punching a pair of singles down to the cover sweeper either side of Crawley easily rotating the strike with a legside flick.
01:50 PM BST
OVER 17: ENG 156/2 (Crawley 31 Duckett 21)
Nice shot by Duckett to lace Adair away through mid-on for four when he doesn’t land his yorker. A cover drive brings him a single and Crawley flicks another off his ankles.
01:42 PM BST
OVER 16: ENG 147/2 (Crawley 29 Duckett 15)
Curtis Campher replaces Craig Young who takes a well-earned breather after 5-0-18-2. The right-arm quick – 84 mph – goes wide on the crease and opts for a full length that both find hard to get away or work the angle. A couple of edges and nurdles accrue three singles before the drinks waiters march on.
01:38 PM BST
OVER 15: ENG 144/2 (Crawley 27 Duckett 14)
Duckett, continuing his habit of playing at everything, plays and misses, clumps one safely off the cue end and then times the pants off a pull for four. He also stabs Adair for a single and top-edges a pull streakily over third man for two.
01:35 PM BST
OVER 14: ENG 136/2 (Crawley 28 Duckett 7)
Crawley finds his range but loses his bottom hand when thrashing towards cow corner for four. After exchanging singles, he leathers a straight drive that would have taken McCarthy’s hand off had he managed to reach it with his drive and then smacks the next ball with a resounding ‘thock!’for six over long off. Nothing really wrong with that delivery either. It was full, fast, perhaps flirting too much with the slot. He almost puts a hole in the sightscreen.
"The entertainment continues!" 🗣️
Crawley belts one back over McCarthy's head for his first 6️⃣💥 pic.twitter.com/debMYO97HB
— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) September 26, 2023
01:30 PM BST
OVER 13: ENG 120/2 (Crawley 11 Duckett 6)
Excellent from Young again, using wobble seam and a good, heavy length, the kind that jars the funnybone if the batsman doesn’t middle it. Only two singles come from it, Duckett’s a chop, Crawley’s a defensive push through mid-on.
01:26 PM BST
OVER 12: ENG 118/2 (Crawley 10 Duckett 5)
McCarthy gives Tector a hard stare when he throws down the stumps needlessly and concedes a buzzer. It’s one of four singles as England work the gaps until Crawley shows us the quality of Gray Nicolls’ willow by thumping an off-drive for four not off the middle at all.
Brave captaincy from Paul Stirling – even after England’s blistering start, has an extra man in the 30-yard circle after the Powerplay, trying to stop England’s new pair from scoring freely. We’ve seen a few teams do this in recent times – New Zealand did it successfully in the ODI they won in Cardiff. It’s always nice seeing captains escape from ODI captaincy by numbers.
01:22 PM BST
OVER 11: ENG 110/2 (Crawley 4 Duckett 3)
Stirling keeps a man up in the infield, encircling these two batsmen to stop them pinching easy runs. He posts himself at slip, too, because he knows he needs wickets. England take three singles but Duckett plays and misses at a couple angled across the left-hander by the impressive Young.
01:17 PM BST
OVER 10: ENG 107/2 (Crawley 2 Duckett 2)
England’s dashing Test openers look positively pedestrian by contrast with Jacks and Salt and glean only a leg-bye and Duckett’s shovel off his pads for two from Barry McCarthy’s tight over.
England have matched their highest ever PowerPlay 1 score.
01:14 PM BST
OVER 9: ENG 104/2 (Crawley 2 Duckett 0)
The ball before Jacks was out his onslaught earned him a life, when he was surprised by Young’s bounce and nicked a ripper through slip. But slip had been withdrawn because of the carnage. Never mind. Young finds justice for himself with another snorter that nipped back and castled Jacks.
01:10 PM BST
Jacks b Young 39 Did Young a grave disservice by saying he was a dobber. He hits the pitch hard, cramps Jacks for room and catches him on the crease, nibbling it back through the fate with no forward or backward movement from the right-hander. FOW 104/2
01:09 PM BST
OVER 8: ENG 100/1 (Jacks 35 Crawley 2)
Barry McCarthy replaces the tortured Josh Little and Jacks launches the first ball over extra cover for six then chips the next one over mid-on for four. After Jacks works a single off his pads, Crawley brings up England’s hundred off 48 balls by thumping an off-drive for two.
01:05 PM BST
OVER 7: ENG 87/1 (Jacks 24 Crawley 0)
Excellent from Young who picked up a wicket with tight lines and went for only three singles.
It is amazing how different Bristol can be. For Gloucestershire’s 50-over matches the pitch will be slow and low and the white ball will nibble around. For an England 50-over match they serve up a belter: one that has produced the highest total ever after six overs of any ODI: 84 without loss, before Phil Salt lofts a skyer to mid-on.
01:00 PM BST
Salt c Adair b Young 61 The dobber does the job. He was trying to launch it over deep midwicket but didn’t twist his wrists in time to cover the turn and spooned it up to mid-on. ‘Nooooo!’ he shouts. FOW 87/1
"NO!" 🗣️ 😩
Salt's fun is over for 61! ❌ pic.twitter.com/IjHprFJILx
— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) September 26, 2023
12:59 PM BST
OVER 6: ENG 84/0 (Salt 60 Jacks 22)
Phil Salt brings up his fifty off 22 balls by pulling Little for four, running a buzzer when he had taken a single to mid-off and, crossing the line by hooking a short ball clean out of the ground. This is ridiculous. Little is a talent but he has got this all wrong and has been devoured by a whirlwind.
When they replace the ball, Salt leans across, drops to one knee and carts an 84mph delivery over fine leg for six!
Little’s figures are 3-0-46-0.
If they carry on at this rate, their projected score is 700!
12:54 PM BST
OVER 5: ENG 66/0 (Salt 39 Jacks 19)
Stirling tries to cauterize England’s flood of runs with the seam of Craig Young and manages to stem the tide a little. Jacks’ slog sweep flies off the outside edge over point for three, Salt toes an off drive safe for two and nurdles a single round the corner to filch the strike.
We might sometimes forget what a total turnaround our contemporary batting is. Less than ten years ago England, after being sent in on a cloudy morning after overnight rain, with the ball swinging, they might have been 10-1 after four overs. Now it is the opening batsmen not bowlers who attack … and England after four overs are 60 without loss.
12:48 PM BST
OVER 4: ENG 60/0 (Salt 39 Jacks 19)
Anything Salt can do ... Jacks waits for Little on the back foot and he foolishly keeps banging it in so Jacks starts the over with two sixes clobbered over deep midwicket and deep backward respectively. England bring up their fifty off 21 balls with a leg bye when Little nips one back in to Jacks’ thighpad.
Salt demonstrates that he is not all blacksmith but has the hands of a surgeon, too, lancing an on-drive for four. A top-edged pull earns Salt two and a bottom-edged pull is hit with such murderous force that it rattles away for four. Twenty-three off the over.
England are marmalising Ireland here.
12:43 PM BST
OVER 3: ENG 37/0 (Salt 29 Jacks 7)
Blimey, Salt is a powerful man. A pocket dynamo. Adair hangs his first ball outside off and Salt smacks it over cover point for six, off the bottom and outside edges. Having only dealt in big denominations so far, Salt chops a cut for a single, Jacks steers one wide of gully and Salt completes the demolition job by flaying four on the up through extra,
Adair has figures if 2-0-31-0 and Salt 29 off 11.
12:38 PM BST
OVER 2: ENG 25/0 (Salt 18 Jacks 6)
Josh Little, left-arm over, gets the same treatment. He is fuller than Jacks and there are encouraging signs of shape into the right-hander but it’s a half-volley and Jacks creams it through cover for four.
More swing outside off from a shorter length puts Jacks in two minds and he ends up leaving a couple and then plays at one he shouldn’t, jabbing one off the splice in the air past second slip for two.
Rubbing Salt in the wounds: 4 4 4 6 wide for the first five balls.
Salt is unlucky to live in the same era as Jos Buttler and to play for the same Hundred team. Still, he has a World Cup T20 medal.
12:35 PM BST
OVER 1: ENG 19/0 (Salt 18 Jacks 0)
Mark Adair has one of the new balls and errs too wide straight away. Salt swings through the line and slices it over third man for four. Adair corrects the line but not his length and Salt plays a handsome back-foot punch through cover for four. Lovely shot.
Adair stays with this back of a length stuff and Salt flips it off middle and off for four. Next ball is shorter still and Salt carts it over midwicket for six. 4-4-4-6! What a start.
Adair, trying to hide the ball, fires the next wide down the legside then, at last, goes fuller to earn two dot balls.
England have never scored 19 off the first over of an ODI before. They have now.
Poor old Paul Stirling looks gobsmacked.
What a start for England in Bristol! 💥 pic.twitter.com/qmScZ1u8kG
— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) September 26, 2023
12:29 PM BST
Out come the England openers
Phil Salt and Will Jacks stroll to the middle.
12:28 PM BST
England depart for India tomorrow
For two warm-up games against India (on Saturday) and Bangladesh on Monday, both at Guwahati before they begin their World Cup defence with a repeat of the 2019 final at Ahmedabad on Thursday. Excited? I am. With nine games to qualify for the semi-finals (meaning they can usually afford to lose three as they did four years ago) and their depth of class, I think you have to make them second favourites behind the hosts. Australia may be ranked No1 but I don’t see them having good enough spinners or the middle-order power. South Africa are very strong but they have a psychological hurdle, too, to leap.
12:10 PM BST
One change each
England Phil Salt, Will Jacks, Zak Crawley (capt), Ben Duckett, Sam Hain, Jamie Smith (wk), Brydon Carse, Rehan Ahmed, Tom Hartley, Luke Wood, Matty Potts.
Ireland Paul Stirling (capt), Andy Balbirnie, Curtis Campher, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker (wk), George Dockrell, Mark Adair, Theo van Woerkom, Barry McCarthy, Craig Young, Josh Little.
12:06 PM BST
Preview: Ireland win toss and put England in
Good afternoon and welcome to live coverage of the last match of England’s international summer, a third ODI against Ireland from Bristol undertaken by Zak Crawley’s irregulars, most of whom, save for the captain, seized a rare opportunity to shine by putting England 1-0 up in the series on Saturday.
Sam Hain, Will Jacks and Ben Duckett all confirmed their class with the bat and Rehan Ahmed, for whom white-ball cricket still seems his strongest suit, with the ball, taking four for 54. George Scrimshaw also chipped in with three wickets and Matt Potts two.
Ireland have won the toss and put England in to bat, hoping that George Dockrell can continue his goof form with the ball. Zak Crawley announces that he is happy as he would have had a bat, too. England bring in Luke Wood for Scrimsaw and Ireland select Theo van Woerkom instead of Andy McBrine.
Play commences at 12.30pm and, although there are dark clouds on the Met Office app later in the afternoon, the radar gives us hope that they will bypass the County Ground.