365dAndrew McGlashan at Old Trafford

Abandonment deepens Lancashire's gloom

Old Trafford's damaged reputation as an international venue suffered a further setback on Tuesday evening, when the second Twenty20 international between England and Australia was abandoned without a ball being bowled, due to waterlogged bowlers' run-ups

Match Centre

Squad

8.05pm Well, that was spectacularly rubbish. Shane Warne has texted the Sky commentary team with the suggestion that they bowl from one end, but this, alas, is a problem that Old Trafford and Lancashire need to account for. The pitch is not fit for international cricket, and frankly, it's not what the county needed at an uncertain time for the future of their venerable old ground.

Jim Cumbes, Lancashire's chief executive, is not a happy man: "It's a disaster that could have been avoided," he tells Sky Sports. "I think the covers were good enough, but we've had so much rain that the pitch was bound to sweat. If this was a domestic game between Lancashire and Yorkshire in front of 16,000 people, this match would have taken place. There are people who paid £50 to come to this game, and I'm bitterly disappointed for them. In my view, you've got to play Twenty20 cricket in these conditions. We've got to rethink how we treat our public in cricket."

Log in later for all the reaction to this farcical situation - Gnasher is off to another ream of press conferences, so he'll have all the news when he's made sense of it all tonight. But that's it for now. I've been Andrew Miller, for what it's worth. And Australia and England have finished all-square in their Twenty20 series at Old Trafford, after a grand total of 21.1 overs in two games. Goodnight.

7.55pm Bad news I'm afraid, the match has been abandoned. Most of the ground is fit for a match, but there is a single square metre at the top of the bowler's run-ups that is not fit for action. This is an embarrassment that will run and run. But no point in hanging around I'm afraid. This one is cooked.

"It's very disappointing for both teams," says Australia's captain, Michael Clarke. "Both teams wanted to play but for the safety of the players, it's the right decision. That area at the far end is the worst part of the ground, but there's an area at backward point as well. For me, only 75 kilos, it doesn't feel sturdy underfoot."

"We as the two teams wanted to get out there and play but you have to be realistic," says England's captain, Paul Collingwood. "It's unfit for international cricket and the umpires have made a brave decision to call it off early. The run-ups are the crucial area on any pitch, but a lot of water has got onto there and it's pretty soggy."

7.45pm Now then, now then. The inspection is taking place, but there's a big problem at the Brian Statham End of the ground, with a massive sodden patch where the right-arm fast bowlers - Brett Lee et al - will be attempting to gather themselves in their delivery stride. It looks too soft to allow the game to get underway just yet. But who knows. This is Twenty20, not a Test match. Four overs per bowler ... you'll be unlucky to turn an ankle in that time, wouldn't you?

"They haven't even bothered switching the lights on yet," interjects Miseryguts. He was at Headingley for a washout earlier this year. And he was at Old Trafford on Sunday. And he was in Antigua for the sandcastle farce. He is a jinx, and he knows it. The only reason England won the Ashes is because he was confined to barracks.

7.30pm "Cricket is a stupid game..." declares our Gnasher. "There are two guys on their hands and knees spreading saw-dust over the run-ups, and another one spiking the turf with a fork. We can send men into space etc etc..." Three days in Manchester, and he's lost the will to live.

7.15pm It is, in the words of Bon Jovi, slippery when wet at Old Trafford, and that is the source of the ongoing delay. The rain has passed, in the opinion of most people at the ground, but the umpires look as though they are still trying to convince the captains that the conditions are fit to play. An 8pm start would, I believe, allow us 18 overs per side. But there are ongoing doubts about the bowler's run-ups. If this was a county game, they'd get underway in this I reckon. It sounds like a further inspection at 7.45pm.

7.10pm It is looking promising. The covers are off and the umpires are deep in discussion. "Plenty of prodding still going on," notes Gnasher. "And Cameron White has come out with an Aussie Rules football." As you do.

7pm The umpires are out in the middle, and the inspection is taking place. But Gnasher, Cricinfo's harbinger of gloom, has a typically Lancastrian prognosis for you. "Still no players warming up, which gives you an idea of how close we are to the start," he grumbles.

6.25pm Hello and welcome to Cricinfo's coverage of the second Twenty20 international between England and Australia at Old Trafford. Saturday's first fixture was sadly washed out after seven balls of England's reply, and alas the rains have returned to delay the start of this contest.

Gnasher McGlashan, our man in Manchester, reports that there is going to be an inspection at 7pm, but he's not sounding too optimistic at the moment. "It's drizzling now, and there has been some very heavy rain," he reports. "There is water still on the covers and some dark clouds around." Ho hum. Watch this space. I'm sure we'll get a game of sorts at some stage.

6.30pm Or perhaps not. Gnasher declares that there is a break in the clouds in the distance, with some brighter stuff on the way hopefully, but the umpire, Nigel Llong, is sounding truly bleak. The outfield is sodden, and there have been no drying conditions whatsoever. "We could be struggling to get any play at all," he declares, with admirable candour. 9.40pm is the latest we can get underway for a five-over game, but Llong does not believe there's any prospect of play before 8pm.

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