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Captains in unison over abandonment

NatWest International T20

Paul Collingwood & Michael Clarke

Paul Collingwood and Michael Clarke agreed that a contrived, compromised match would have undermined the wider game

England captain Paul Collingwood praised a "brave" decision by the umpires to call off the second Twenty20 international against Australia without a ball being bowled tonight.

A heavy thunderstorm fell over Manchester in mid-afternoon which left the Old Trafford playing surface sodden.

While the rain had eased by the time play was due to begin at 7pm BST, groundstaff were unable to clear the surface water and after a second inspection umpires Peter Hartley and Nigel Llong called the match off at 7.55pm.

That did not go down well much of with the capacity 19,500 crowd inside Old Trafford, especially after Friday's first match at the same venue was washed out after seven balls of England's reply.

"I absolutely sympathise with the fans who turned up. Obviously there was another full house tonight and people wanted to watch at home," Collingwood said.

"The umpires came up to us and said they think it's unfit for international cricket.

"When you've got a lot of people in the crowd, it's a brave call to make but it's good that they are making those calls."

The main area of concern was a sodden patch in the bowlers' run-up at the Brian Statham End.

While Collingwood said that was not the only area that posed a risk for injury, he and Australia skipper Michael Clarke agreed they could not ask their bowlers to run up on the slippery surface.

Collingwood added: "There were other areas [that were wet] as well. The backward point area was very wet as well. But specifically it was that one area in the bowlers' run-ups which is a crucial part of a cricket pitch.

"With the run-ups for the bowlers and the weight that goes through that part of the ground - especially in those take-off areas - the risk was too great.

Old Trafford

The work of the super-soppers could not totally dry the field

"I spoke to Michael and both of us said if you're asking your boys to run in 100% then it is going to be pretty dangerous. That's why the umpires made that decision."

Collingwood scoffed at suggestions that the game could have still gone ahead with bowlers bowling from just one end, saying it would have undermined the integrity of the game.

"Of course it would. To mark out wide run-ups just to miss and area and stuff like that, it becomes ridiculous," he said. "Obviously the umpires have made a good decision."

Clarke agreed with Collingwood's assessment that a compromised match was out of the question.

"There are a couple of things there you can do to put on a show for the crowd but the fact is it is an international Twenty20," he said.

"You want to play your full-strength team. There's no game I play for Australia where you go out and bowl some full tosses so the crowd get a great spectacle.

"The ground just wasn't fit enough to play. Both teams are disappointed. We've got specialist Twenty20 players who have flown over from Australia to take part in these two games so we really wanted to play."

Speaking about the bowlers' run-ups Clarke added: "I'm 75 kilos and when I put my foot on that area it was very unstable, so I can't imagine that [Ryan] Sidebottom, [Brett] Lee, [Mitchell] Johnson, who are a little bit bigger boys than me, running in to bowl on that.

"They (the umpires) told us they thought the ground was unfit. Paul and I agreed."

ECB will be holding a full inquiry into the circumstances leading up to the abandonment of the game at Old Trafford. ECB's head pitch inspector Chris Wood will be meeting Lancashire CCC staff and officials Sept 2 and reporting back to the ECB Board.

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