England's 'whitewash' bid washed out
Hosts' attempt to build towards a clean sweep of series against India badly hit by rain on first day of fourth Test.
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2011 19:41
Sreesanth suffers more frustration against Cook but the London weather was the irritant for England [GALLO/GETTY]

Rain frustrated England's bid for a 4-0 series win over India when play was washed out after lunch on the opening day of the fourth Test at the Oval.

Openers Andrew Strauss (38 not out) and Alastair Cook (34 not out) put on 75 in an unbroken first wicket partnership against an under-strength attack when the rain which had been threatening around south London all morning on Thursday finally descended.

India, who relinquished their number one ranking to England after being thrashed in the first three tests in the four-match series, lost their best remaining bowler before the start of play.
Left-arm pace bowler RP Singh, who had not played a Test for more than three years, replaced Praveen Kumar, who injured his ankle in the third match at Edgbaston.

Initial reports said Kumar had dropped out after injuring his right thumb in Birmingham but the Indian management issued a statement during the scheduled tea interval saying his problem was an injury to his left ankle.

India's leading bowlers, left-arm pace bowler Zaheer Khan and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, are also injured. 

Strauss elected to bat after winning the toss, marking the first time in the series that the opposition side has not been put in, and England's only moment of real uncertainty before lunch came when their captain was hit on the helmet by Ishant Sharma.

Strauss had made a late decision to pull a short-pitched ball off the front foot when he was on 24.


Singh took the new ball and an lbw appeal against Cook was rejected when umpire Simon Taufel decided the ball was going over the stumps.

The left-hander edged the next delivery through the slips to the boundary.

Strauss also collected his first boundary through the slips off Sharma who bowled an accurate line and occasionally troubled the batsmen with late movement off the pitch.

He was replaced at the Pavilion end by Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and Strauss profited from a full pitched delivery on the leg stump to take a boundary through mid-wicket.

In the following over from Singh, Cook rocked on to the back foot to smack the ball to the point boundary. Strauss on-drove Sreesanth handsomely through mid-on for another four.

Sreesanth strayed leg-side again and Cook took a further boundary then played the shot of the morning, a cover-drive off Sharma for four.
The rain started to fall half an hour into the lunch break and Australian umpires Taufel and Rod Tucker finally called play off at 1600 GMT with the pitch area fully covered and the floodlights on.

Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
More than 400 gaming dens operate on native lands, but critics say social ills and inequality stack the deck.
The Palestinian president is expected to address the UN with a new proposal for the creation of a Palestinian state.
Nearly 1,200 aboriginal females have been killed or disappeared over 30 years with little justice served, critics say.
Ethnic violence has wracked China's restive Xinjiang region, leading to a tight government clampdown.
Malay artists revitalise the art of puppeteering by fusing tradition with modern characters such as Darth Vader.