Australia Tour of England - Men's
Ashes tour game ends in washout
Final day of Australia's match against Worcestershire abandoned after only 13 overs - and a porcelain vase presentation - were possible
Andrew Ramsey at New Road, Worcester
10 August 2019, 12:18 AM AEST
Australia's three-day tour game against Worcestershire was effectively reduced to a two-and-a-small-bit-day game when rained forced the abandonment of Friday's play during the lunch interval.
Only an hour's play, containing 13 overs, was possible on a frustrating day before the game was formally called off at 1.45pm with the tourists 2-124 in their second innings.
The early finish left Mitchell Marsh unbeaten on 39, a studied innings from 75 deliveries faced, and Marnus Labuschagne nine not out having batted for just over half an hour.
However, any misgivings the tourists might have felt at missing a chance of an extra day's match practice were soon salved when they climbed aboard their plush coach for the two-hour drive to London where the second Test begins on Wednesday.
Given the volume of rain dumped upon Worcester in the early hours of Friday morning, and New Road's reputation as a reservoir in times of tempest, it was surprising that day three got underway at all.
The feeling among both teams upon arriving at the ground an hour or so before the scheduled start was that the outfield would carry so much residual dampness that one more heavy shower would put paid to the day.
But the sun shone for several hours as umpires Neil Mallender and Hassan Adnan made several inspections of the pitch and the surrounding turf.
It was deemed too damp for play to get underway at the appointed hour of 11am, but a combination of the late-morning sun and a south-westerly breeze meant sufficient improvement had occurred for the game to begin at noon.
The moisture that had found its way into the playing surface, despite the overnight protection provided by the heavy covers, meant the challenge posed by seam bowlers - that had been significant on the opening days - was compounded on day three.
Marcus Harris added five to his overnight score from 13 deliveries faced before he was trapped lbw by Worcestershire skipper Joe Leach.
While Harris' 67 (scored in more than two hours at the crease) isn't likely to convince selectors a change is needed to the top of the Test order, it did provide him with valuable batting time in challenging match conditions should he be required at short notice during the Ashes series.
The difficulty that batting posed on the enlivened day three surface meant Labuschagne, promoted to number four in the reshuffled second innings batting order, faced 16 deliveries before he was able to find his first runs.
And even then the boundary that he pocketed came courtesy of an outside edge that he managed to keep along the ground, and sufficiently wide of the slips cordon to get him off the mark.
The rain that continually threatened, blowing in from the direction of the Malvern Hills and neighbouring Herefordshire, arrived after 40 minutes of action, but the dusting it brought was so light that players had barely left the field before they were recalled.
When lunch was taken at the pre-ordained time, the tourists had taken their score to 2-124 – an overall lead of 189 – having added 32 runs in an inclement hour's play.
Those intrepid souls who had braved the forecast and the occasional squalls were treated to a lunchtime presentation - a vase of famous Worcester porcelain to commemorate Sir Donald Bradman's run-scoring feats at New Road.
The celebratory gift was made to Australia's Bupa Support Team batting coach (and former England Test batter) Graeme Hick, who made many of his 41,112 first-class runs for Worcestershire at New Road.
Bradman had posted double-centuries in three consecutive tour games for Australia against Worcestershire during tours of the UK in 1930, 1934 and 1938.
In his final visit to the county venue during the 1948 'Invincibles' campaign, Bradman was dismissed for 'only' 107 and according to local lore, a Worcester newspaper trumpeted that the then Australia captain had finally failed at New Road.
The original Royal Worcester Porcelain vase presented to Bradman in 1948 is now a feature item in the Bradman Museum at Adelaide Oval, but today's presentation signalled only the arrival of even heavier rain.
Just minutes before the scheduled resumption, a downpour lashed the ground and both teams agreed with the umpires that no further play would be possible on the already sodden surface.
Australia XI: Marcus Harris, Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Wade, Tim Paine (wk), Michael Neser, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood.
Worcestershire XI: Tom Fell, Josh Dell, Callum Ferguson, Jack Haynes, Riki Wessels, George Rhodes, Alex Milton (wk), Joe Leach (c), Josh Tongue, Charlie Morris, Adam Finch.
2019 Qantas Ashes Tour of England
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.
England squad: Joe Root (c), Moeen Ali, Jimmy Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes (vc), Olly Stone, Chris Woakes.
First Test: Australia beat England by 251 runs at Edgbaston
Tour match: Australia draw with Worcestershire at New Road
Second Test: August 14-18,Lord's
Third Test: August 22-26, Headingley
Tour match: Australians v Derbyshire, August 29-31
Fourth Test: September 4-8, Old Trafford
Fifth Test: September 12-16, The Oval