No result at soggy SWALEC
The first of five NatWest Series one-day internationals between England and South Africa was abandoned as a no-result following persistent rain at the SWALEC Stadium.
Only 5.3 overs were possible in Cardiff – during which time Ian Bell briefly entertained the crowd with some glorious strokeplay – on a day that saw the start time pushed back on several occasions before the heavens opened again to bring proceedings to a halt.
Bell twice cleared the ropes en route to 26 from 18 deliveries, but his efforts, which helped England to 37 without loss after they had been invited to bat, were soon cut short.
The hosts had opted to recall Chris Woakes in the absence of Stuart Broad, while South Africa rested Dale Steyn.
However, the make-up of each team ultimately proved irrelevant as the inclement weather prevented all but the briefest of action.
3:42pm - MATCH ABANDONED - That's all folks. The latest downpour has put paid to any chance of a match being completed. The two teams will meet again at the Ageas Bowl on Tuesday.
3:38pm - The rain is officially torrential. The players would need to be back out by 15:57pm in order to fit in the remaining overs - something that looks nigh on impossible.
3:32pm - RAIN STOPS PLAY; ENG 37/0 - It's difficult not to be annoyed. After Bell plays another brilliant stroke, clipping Tsotsobe over fine-leg, heavy rain descends upon the ground. The players have left the field and, given the level of precipitation, things look bleak to say the least.
3:30pm - England’s early struggles seem a distant memory. This is simply majestic from Bell, who mixes power with excellent timing by skipping down the track and planting Morkel over midwicket and then mid-off for maximums. Twenty-eight runs have now come off the last two overs.
3:24pm - That was worth the wait; a glorious cover-driven four from Cook that renders the slow outfield irrelevant. A slightly more agricultural hit over point for two follows before Bell heaps further pressure on Tsotsobe by lofting down the ground for another boundary.
3:20pm - These are difficult times for England's openers, who are struggling to impose themselves on a green pitch. The pressure almost forces a run-out as Cook sets off for a ill-judged single, only for Wayne Parnell to somehow miss the stumps by a distance.
3:12pm - The tall seamer finds his range after an inauspicious start as Alastair Cook comfortably plays out six dot balls. Left-arm paceman Lonwabo Tsotsobe, an outstanding operator in ODIs, will now have a crack at Ian Bell in the Cardiff gloom.
3:09pm - Not so difficult after all. We are back under way again, with Morkel to finish his set of six in what is now a 23-overs-per-side match.
3pm - RAIN STOPS PLAY; ENG 1/0 - The day has just been summed up. Morkel bowls one delivery - a wide - and play is brought to a halt. It is raining again, albeit not heavily, and it is difficult to envisage the players getting back out there.
2:58pm - The players are out on the field and, against all odds, we are ready for some action. Morne Morkel is bowling the first over.
2:50pm - There appears to be a small amount of rain in the air, though not enough to suggest the start will be delayed just yet. It is very gloomy, however, and another spurt of rain would almost certainly signal the end.
2:35pm - The mandatory powerplay will last for five overs, the bowling four and batting three. Four bowlers are permitted to send down five overs and one four.
2:20pm - For the fifth occasion, we have a new start time! The new one is 3pm, with a 24-overs-per-side game planned. I think this may well be the last throw of the dice - let's hope we do not see any more rain.
1:41pm - It is a familiar story. Yes, you guessed it: more rain and a further delay in Cardiff.
1:24pm - We have another start time. The on-off rain has abated and, all being well, play should begin at 1:45pm.
1:05pm - The bad news, too, is that more precipitation is forecast throughout the afternoon. Hopes of play are looking increasingly remote, I am afraid.
12:50pm - Just call me Mystic Meg from here on in! Right on cue, the rain starts falling again.
12:48pm - It has stopped raining and the plan is to get play under way at 1:15pm now. It is very gloomy, however, and I cannot help but think there's more inclement weather on the way.
12:30pm - Perhaps predictably, the rain has started falling once again. The brollies are back up; the extra covers are being rolled on; the smiles in the press box are turning to frowns. Miserable!
12:20pm - The match has been reduced to 38 overs per side, with three bowlers permitted to bowl eight overs and two seven. The mandatory powerplay will be eight overs, the bowling four and batting three.
12:09pm - In a surprise boost for all, it has been revealed that play will start in 35 minutes at 12:45pm. Let's keep our fingers crossed that it does not rain beforehand!
11:59am - Some much-needed joy at Cardiff. A rope is attached to two tractors that are being driven around the ground and, much to the amusement of the crowd, stewards are being forced into a little hop to avoid falling over. Oh, the fun that can be had.
11:55am - The clean-up operation continues at the SWALEC Stadium and it does appear to have stopped raining. I can only imagine that the period without precipitation will not last. It's that sort of day, unfortunately.
11:15am - As the rain continues to fall, myself and colleague Chris Devine are already trying to plan for an extra night in Cardiff. T20 finals day takes place here tomorrow and the forecast looks equally poor, meaning we could well use the reserve day.
10:42am - That optimism lasted for all of seven minutes! The brollies are back up and more visible than ever. Maybe we could get Cirque Bijou, who will be thrilling the crowds here tomorrow, in a day early to inject a little verve into proceedings.
10:35am - Looking around the stands, there appear to be less umbrellas than previously, which suggests the rain has eased, if not stopped. There is no sign of any covers being removed, however.
10:28am - Since my last update, more covers have come on to the field and the rain has showed no sign of abating. It's a pretty bleak day in south Wales.
10:09am - It's raining. I feel like just leaving it there because, once again this summer, it's raining! Incredibly frustrating, though by no means unexpected. If the forecast is to be believed, things are only going to get worse. I hate to be negative, but it's difficult to show any positivity this year.
10:00am - England: Alastair Cook (captain), Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott, Ravi Bopara, Eoin Morgan, Craig Kieswetter (wicketkeeper), Tim Bresnan, Chris Woakes, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Steven Finn.
South Africa: Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla, Dean Elgar, AB de Villiers (captain & wicketkeeper), JP Duminy, Francois du Plessis, Ryan McLaren, Wayne Parnell, Robin Petersen, Morne Morkel, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.
9:55am - There have been many occasions when the country's meteorologists have gotten it wrong. Let's all hope that is the case today - Chris Woakes will certainly be keeping his fingers crossed as he prepares to play his first senior England match for almost a year, replacing the rested Stuart Broad.
9:45am - SOUTH AFRICA WIN TOSS AND BOWL - AB de Villiers has called correctly and, unsurprisingly, opted to bowl. It's overcast in Cardiff and there should be some assistance for a Proteas attack minus spearhead Dale Steyn. The decision will also have something to do with the poor weather forecast; Duckworth/Lewis is set to play a part if we are able to get a game in, which - I am afraid to say - appears unlikely.
9:30am - Hello and welcome to the SWALEC Stadium where England are set to take on South Africa in the first NatWest Series one-day international. Having surrendered their number-one status in Tests to the Proteas, the hosts will be desperate to remain top of the pile in the 50-over format. The weather, for the time being, is fine and the toss is due in 15 minutes.