BSP-10 Lunch called early in rain-hit third Ashes Test

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Lunch called early in rain-hit third Ashes Test

PERTH, Australia, Dec 18, 2017 (BSS/AFP) – Lunch was called early without
a ball being bowled on the final day of the rain-hit third Ashes Test in
Perth on Monday.

Showers and overnight water damage to the pitch prevented any play in the
first session, raising England’s hopes of remaining alive in the series.

Australia need just six more wickets to reclaim the Ashes.

A draw would mean England can still retain the Ashes with wins in the last
two Tests in Melbourne and Sydney.

England were 132 for four, trailing by 127 runs with Dawid Malan on 28 and
Jonny Bairstow on 14.

Strong winds and heavy showers lashed Perth on Sunday night and continued
on Monday morning, but the main concern was a damp patch just outside the
popping crease at the southern end of the ground.

The reason for the damage was unclear, although there was speculation it
might have been linked to strong winds lifting the covers.

As intermittent showers passed through, and the covers came on and off
regularly, WACA ground staff worked feverishly with leaf blowers to try to
dry the problem area.

England coach Trevor Bayliss described the pitch as “dangerous” and umpires
would not allow the game to resume until it was in the same condition as when
play finished on the fourth day.

“There has been leakage under the covers overnight,” umpires Chris Gaffaney
said early in the day. “It’s really soft at the moment. It’s just a wait and
see process.

“The pitch has to be the same for both sides but, at the moment, we feel
the pitch has been altered overnight.”

BSS/AFP/MR/ 1027hrs