Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Decision to Call off Match Is Defended; 'Brave' Umpires Are Backed by Collingwood

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Decision to Call off Match Is Defended; 'Brave' Umpires Are Backed by Collingwood

Article excerpt

CAPTAIN Paul Collingwood praised a "brave" decision by the umpires to call off England's second Twenty20 international against Australia without a ball being bowled last night, writes MATT SOMERFORD.

A heavy thunderstorm fell over Manchester in mid-afternoon which had left the Old Trafford playing surface sodden.

While the rain had eased by the time play was due to begin at 7pm, groundstaff were unable to clear the surface water and after a second inspection umpires Peter Hartley and Nigel Llong called the match off at 8pm.

That did not go down well with the capacity 19,500 crowd inside Old Trafford, especially after Friday's first match at the same venue was washed out after seven balls of England's reply.

"I absolutely sympathise with the fans who turned up. Obviously there was another full house tonight and people wanted to watch at home," said Durham all-rounder Collingwood.

"The umpires came up to us and said they think it's unfit for international cricket.

"When you've got a lot of people in the crowd, it's a brave call to make but it's good that they are making those calls."

The main area of concern was a sodden patch in the bowlers' run-up at the Brian Statham End. While Collingwood said that was not the only area that posed a risk for injury, he and Australia skipper Michael Clarke agreed they could not ask their bowlers to run up on the slippery surface.

Collingwood added: "There were other areas [that were wet] as well. The backward point area was very wet as well. But specifically it was that one area in the bowlers' run-ups which is a crucial part of a cricket pitch.

"With the run-ups for the bowlers and the weight that goes through that part of the ground - especially in those take-off areas - the risk was too great.

"I spoke to Michael and both of us said if you're asking your boys to run in 100% then it is going to be pretty dangerous. …

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