Rain hurts preparation for opening Test

MANCHESTER, England (CMC) — Rain forced the abandonment of opening day of the West Indies’ final intra-squad warm-up contest here yesterday.

The four-day affair at Old Trafford is key to the tourists’ preparation for the first Test at Southampton starting July 8, but players were kept from any action due to persistent showers.

Further showers have been forecast for today’s second day.

West Indies played their first warm-up last week, a three-day fixture here which finished in a tame draw but afforded players valuable time in the middle.

Due to the lockdown in the Caribbean because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, players arrived here earlier this month short of match readiness, leaving the two planned tour matches here critical to preparation for the series.

Opener Kraigg Brathwaite, Shai Hope, Shamarh Brooks and wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich, all of whom are expected to be in the XI for the first Test, struck half-centuries in the first warm-up game.

And speedsters Alzarri Joseph and Shannon Gabriel, widely tipped to be part of a four-pronged pace attack, were among the wickets.

The second Test will be played at Old Trafford from July 16-20, with the final Test carded for the same venue from July 24-28.

The tour marks cricket’s first-ever biosecure series due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Main photo: Rain at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, yesterday where the West Indies intersquad match was washed out