England chose to bowl vs South Africa
The entire opening day of the third and final Test between England and South Africa was washed out, and the fate of the game remained uncertain after the scheduled second day was called off following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Play was abandoned without a ball being bowled early on Thursday evening after England captain Ben Stokes
had won the toss and asked South Africa to bat first under threatening skies at The Oval.
Overnight storms had cleared by match morning, although the outfield remained wet enough to prompt umpires Richard Kettleborough and Nitin Menon to delay the toss by half an hour. Dark clouds then enveloped the ground shortly before rescheduled start time of 11.30am and heavy showers arrived before the players could take the field. Despite a few hopeful movements in terms of cover removal and pitch inspections, the rain set in and play was called off around 4.45pm.
But the day's events in south London were overshadowed by those much further north at Balmoral, where the Royal Family gathered at their Scottish home amid concerns over the Queen's health. It was confirmed shortly after 6.30pm that she had died at the age of 96.
As confirmed by Stokes on match eve, Harry Brook
was named to make his debut in place of Jonny Bairstow
, who is expected to spend an extended period on the sidelines after his freak golfing injury. Joe Root presented Brook with his Test cap, while Marcus Trescothick gave James Anderson a cap to mark his 175th Test after the pair played together in Anderson's debut in 2003.
"Massively disappointed for Jonny, he's been absolutely phenomenal this summer," Stokes told Sky Sports. "He's been the spearhead of what we wanted to achieve this summer. Harry Brook gets that opportunity, he thoroughly deserves the situation he finds himself in."
South Africa made wholesale changes, meanwhile, least surprisingly bringing in Ryan Rickelton
for Rassie van der Dussen, who fractured his finger while fielding during the second Test at Old Trafford.
Dean Elgar, their captain, revealed at the toss that Lungi Ngidi
was injured - he has a hamstring problem - while Aiden Markram and Simon Harmer were omitted. As a result, Marco Jansen
returned to the side after being overlooked for the second Test and Khaya Zondo
was set to play his second Test after making his debut against Bangladesh in April, replacing Markram, who has struggled for form. Wiaan Mulder
returned to the side for his first Test since that home series against Bangladesh, with South Africa seeking to shore up their batting while providing an extra seam option.
England: 1 Zak Crawley, 2 Alex Lees, 3 Ollie Pope, 4 Joe Root, 5 Harry Brook, 6 Ben Stokes (capt), 7 Ben Foakes (wk), 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Ollie Robinson, 10 Jack Leach, 11 James Anderson
South Africa: 1 Dean Elgar (capt), 2 Sarel Erwee, 3 Keegan Petersen, 4 Ryan Rickelton, 5 Khaya Zondo, 6 Kyle Verreynne (wk), 7 Wiaan Mulder, 8 Marco Jansen, 9 Keshav Maharaj, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Anrich Nortje