Fans fume as Lancashire admit making a mess of Old Trafford mop-up

 

Old Trafford

Embarrassed Lancashire cricket chiefs faced the fury of supporters when an apparent drainage failure forced play to be abandoned ahead of schedule yesterday.

Angry spectators, who had paid up to £68 for a ticket, booed when it was announced at 5.39pm that there would be no more cricket between England and India on the second day of the fourth Investec Test, even though the skies had been clear for two hours.

A heavy shower in mid-afternoon, which lasted for about an hour, left much of the outfield under water. Although the majority was absorbed by the underground devices, there were two large puddles at the Brian Statham End of the playing area that refused to drain away, despite exhaustive use of the mopping-up vehicles the groundstaff use to disperse standing water.

A new £600,000 drainage system was installed in 2008 as part of extensive redevelopment work to bring Old Trafford back up to the standard of the best Test grounds in the country.

Lancashire sources suggested that the latest problem was caused by rebuilding work undertaken at the Statham End of the ground at the end of last summer. The grass was relaid in that area last winter and, according to the county’s cricket director, Mike Watkinson, this was the cause of the problem.

Former England captain Nasser Hussain said on Sky Sports: “The one thing you probably want to get right at Old Trafford is the drainage. It’s a shame that one heavy shower has ended up with the whole day called off. At a Test venue you cannot have one area of the ground that is a little bit dodgy.”

But Watkinson hit back: “Maybe that was something said in the moment. We’re talking about an area we used for construction purposes in the winter. It’s got high-performing drains and the same construction as everyone else, but the turf and grass haven’t had time to knit together over seasons.

“If we have got anything wrong, we hit it with the Water Hog [the vehicle used to mop up the water] rather than letting it drain naturally, but you can understand our groundstaff want to be as proactive as possible. They thought they could take a ‘cheat’ and get some of the water off the top but it has just disturbed the surface. It looks a bit of a mess, we accept that.”

Lancashire have taken heart from their Twenty20 Blast quarter-final against Glamorgan last week. Heavy rain meant no play was possible on the Friday but the teams were able to complete the tie the following afternoon.

Lancashire were keeping their fingers crossed that there would be no more rain overnight – but the forecast for the weekend is not good.

The worry for Lancashire is that they could suffer the next time Test matches are handed out, which could happen next March. The bidding process between the nine Test grounds in England is extremely competitive and no ground wants to miss a trick. As it is, Old Trafford has already been left off the list for next year’s Ashes series.

Watkinson added: “You would hope it is not held against us. You hope that people look at the cricket that has been played so far in this game, the quality of the pitch, the way it’s produced some great bowling and good batting. There has been entertaining cricket with a real momentum and better players have prospered. I hope they have not been bothered about five metres of a sandy puddle that has affected an hour’s cricket.”

Supporters will travel to Old Trafford today hoping for bright skies and more fascinating cricket as England, with a lead of 85 runs, push on for victory to take a 2-1 lead in the five-match series.

The drainage system at Lord’s is superior to that of every other ground, even though most have been improved. England batsman Ian Bell said: “Would we have got back on elsewhere? Definitely at Lord’s but the groundstaff gave everything to get us out there and it’s a shame we couldn’t play.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
voicesBryony Beynon: This is something every woman can relate to
Arts and Entertainment
film

News
Mock the tweet: Ukip leader Nigel Farage and comedian Frankie Boyle
peopleIt was a polite exchange of words, as you can imagine
Arts and Entertainment
Steven, Ella Jade and Sarah in the boardroom
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Life and Style
Britons buy more than 30 million handsets each year, keeping them for an average of 18 months
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch is reported to be in final negotiations to play Doctor Strange for Marvel although the casting has not yet been confirmed
film
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Alloysious Massaquoi, 'G' Hastings and Kayus Bankole of Young Fathers are the surprise winners of this year's Mercury Music Prize
musicThe surprise winners of the Mercury Prize – and a very brief acceptance speech
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
film
Life and Style
fashion

World Beard and Moustache Championships held last week

News
video
Arts and Entertainment
Copycat culture: the Chateau Zhang Laffitte in China, top, and the building which inspired it, in Paris, bottom
architectureReplicas of Western landmarks are springing up in unlikely places
Sport
Rolando Aarons watches as his effort finds the corner of the Manchester City goal to give Newcastle the lead
footballManchester City 0 Newcastle 2: Holders crash out on home turf
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain