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News

Test suspended in mark of respect following death of Queen

No play on Friday after first-day washout, match could still begin on Saturday

The Union flag flies at half-mast above the Oval pavilion  •  Surrey CCC/Getty Images

The Union flag flies at half-mast above the Oval pavilion  •  Surrey CCC/Getty Images

The third Test between England and South Africa at the Kia Oval has been suspended following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
The announcement of the Queen's death at the age of 96 came at 6.30pm on Thursday, the scheduled first day of the Test, after which the ECB confirmed that no scheduled cricket would take place on Friday. As well as day two of the Test, four fixtures in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy were due to be played.
"Following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Friday's play between England and South Africa Men at The Oval, along with all scheduled matches in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, will not take place," the ECB said in a statement. "For fixtures beyond Friday, updates will be provided in due course."
The ECB is in consultation with government and other sports on the appropriate course of action for the rest of the Test. Ticket-holders for day two will be eligible for a full refund, the board confirmed.
No play was possible on day one because of rain throughout the day, with stumps eventually called at 4.44pm, as speculation rose about the condition of the monarch.
ESPNcricinfo understands the ECB and the Proteas management team met to discuss options, whether moving day two to Saturday or cancelling the Test altogether. CSA was happy to accept whatever the ECB board deemed appropriate and is willing to extend the team's stay in the UK to facilitate the completion of the series, which is currently tied at one Test apiece.
ECB chair Richard Thompson said: "I'm sure I speak for everyone in the game when I say how truly sad I am to hear of the Queen's passing. Her Majesty has been such a great supporter of the game and was always so vocal of her and her late husband's enjoyment around the sport. Her dedication to her country will never be forgotten. For her service and her selflessness over her extraordinary reign, we owe her a debt that can never be repaid."
A period of national mourning is expected in the UK, with sporting cancellations likely. Play was suspended at the PGA Championship in Wentworth on Thursday evening, while the British Horseracing Authority announced the postponement of Friday's races.
England were playing a Test match in India when the death of King George VI was announced in 1952. Day two of the Chennai Test was designated a rest day, with India going on to record their first victory in the format on the fourth day of play.

Vithushan Ehantharajah is an associate editor for ESPNcricinfo