No play possible on day four in Rawalpindi

By Sports Desk December 14, 2019

No play was possible on day four of the first Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka due to a wet outfield at Pindi Cricket Stadium.

Only 32 balls were bowled on Friday due to overnight rain and bad light, after just 18.2 overs of action for the same reasons on the second day.

There was further frustration on Saturday, with play called off at midday due to more bad weather in Rawalpindi.

Sri Lanka were due to resume on 282-6 in the only innings of the match so far, Dhananjaya de Silva unbeaten on 87.

The first Test in Pakistan for a decade is destined to end in a draw.

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  • I thought I'd clipped it for two! – Pope overjoyed by maiden century I thought I'd clipped it for two! – Pope overjoyed by maiden century

    Ollie Pope was uncertain if he had reached his maiden Test century for England, believing he had sent the shot take took him to 100 for two rather than four.

    Pope was on 96 when he tucked away a neat shot through a gap in the South African field on his leg side, propelling the 22-year-old to his first Test century on day two in Port Elizabeth.

    The Surrey batsman went on to finish on 135 not out as England declared at 499-9 before limiting South Africa to 60-2 prior to rain stopping play.

    "I thought I'd clipped it for two!" an ecstatic Pope told reporters after stumps.

    "It's quite hard to put into words. I was lucky enough to see Dom Sibley get his first hundred last week, I've seen Ben Foakes get his first hundred in Sri Lanka.

    "I've always sat there watching and been ecstatic for them and thought it must be an amazing feeling. So to actually do it was an awesome feeling."

    However, things would have been different had Pope not heeded the advice of Ben Stokes, who himself scored his ninth Test century.

    Pope was given out leg before wicket to Dane Paterson while on 74, but Stokes convinced the youngster to use a review with two seconds of the 15 remaining.

    "I thought it would be me heading back to the changing rooms to be honest," Pope added.

    "When Stokesy told me to review with two seconds left I thought it was clutching at straws a bit. When we saw the replay we saw the green and it was a pretty good feeling at that point."

    Pope missed significant time in 2019 due to a shoulder injury and says his spell out gave him extra desire to succeed when given the chance with England.

    "From a mental point, I go back to those three months, it gave me a real hunger to come back," Pope said.

    "I had no idea how close I was to the England team at the time but I came back and found a bit of form straight away so it made me that bit hungrier, I think."

  • Boucher rues 'big blow' of losing banned Rabada Boucher rues 'big blow' of losing banned Rabada

    Mark Boucher described losing Kagiso Rabada for the final Test against England as a "massive blow" and had mixed feelings over the suspension handed down to the South Africa quick.

    Rabada will miss the last match of the series at The Wanderers after being sanctioned for his reaction to dismissing Joe Root on day one of the third Test at St George's Park.

    The paceman roared in celebration after bowling the England captain and that resulted in him being found guilty of a level one breach of the ICC code of conduct.

    It earned Rabada a fourth demerit point in a two-year period, a tally that triggers a one-match ban.

    Boucher felt Rabada should have known better, but suggested the punishment was harsh after watching England take charge in Port Elizabeth by posting 499-9 declared before the Proteas were reduced to 60-2 in reply on Friday.

    "I think KG has a bit of a history, he probably shouldn't have done it, but it is what it is," said the South Africa head coach.

    "The level one is a slap on the wrists but unfortunately he's got too many demerit points. We played in days when bowlers used to swear at batsmen, you want to be nice and aggressive.

    "He didn't look at Joe Root, but it's about how you determine the laws. KG is best when he's nice and aggressive. We'll get him to run to square leg rather than the batter. But the laws are there and you have to abide by them.

    "I wasn't aware of all the demerit points [Rabada has] and how the whole system works, so to hear this morning he's going to be banned for the final Test is a massive blow for us.

    "He's a world-class performer, especially at The Wanderers, where I think he would be very effective."

    The former South Africa wicketkeeper-batsman added: "We spoke to the match referee [on Thursday] and we did voice our concerns over the rule and a couple of variations of the rule.

    "It's a tough one to gauge about excessive celebrations in the area of the batter and making contact with the batter.

    "I don't feel that he made any contact with the batter whatsoever. Yes, he was in his space, but the two put together there is probably different ways you can look at it. Bottom line is the match referee has made up his mind."

  • England withdraw declaration and bat on in bizarre scenes at Port Elizabeth England withdraw declaration and bat on in bizarre scenes at Port Elizabeth

    England skipper Joe Root prompted confusion and hilarity on day two of the third Test with South Africa as he withdrew a declaration after a wicket was ruled out due to a no-ball.

    When Mark Wood was caught at mid-on off Kagiso Rabada to seemingly leave England 467-9, Root called a halt to his side's first innings at Port Elizabeth.

    However, replays then showed Rabada had over-stepped, prompting Root to reverse his decision and instead advise his side to carry on batting.

    Wood and Ollie Pope, who had earlier completed his maiden Test century, made the most of the bizarre situation by plundering a further 31 runs - in addition to the run England received for Rabada's no-ball - in quick time.

    After racing to 42 from 23 balls, Wood eventually holed out to deep midwicket off Keshav Maharaj (5-180) and England declared on 499-9, with Pope 135 not out.

    Ben Stokes (120) had also reached three figures for the tourists prior to lunch as they kicked on superbly from an overnight score of 224-4.

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