Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 5 August 2020

Weather halts England victory march in third and final Test against the West Indies

Rain forces fourth day at Old Trafford to be abandoned, leaving hosts eight wickets away from series win and Broad on edge of major milestone

England's hopes of clinching series victory against the West Indies at Old Trafford was frustrated by rain after the fourth day of the third and final Test was abandoned without a ball being bowled.

Joe Root's men now have just one day to claim the final eight West Indies wickets with the tourists on 10-2 chasing an unlikely 399 to win in Manchester.

Britain’s Met Office predicted a cloudy day on Tuesday with a 50 per cent chance of rain in the afternoon.

When play finally does resume, England bowler Stuart Broad will be one wicket away from becoming only the second Englishman to reach 500 Test wickets.

Former England captain Andrew Strauss believes Broad's competitive streak has helped him reach the form of his life.

He has already taken combined figures of 8-39 in the match and, with eight more West Indian scalps up for grabs, it is almost inconceivable that he will have to wait too much longer to reach the half-century mark.

Strauss has known Broad for almost 15 years, playing 47 Tests with him and captaining 38 of those, but cannot remember the seamer looking more consistently dangerous than he is right now at the age of 34.

Since the start of 2019 Broad has taken 66 wickets at 21.19 – well below his career average of 28 – and Strauss believes the decision to leave him out of the side as part of a rest and rotation strategy for the first Test of the summer has driven him to new heights.

"I honestly don't believe Stuart Broad has bowled much better than this," said Strauss, who has helped raise more than £655,000 for the Ruth Strauss Foundation over the past four days.

"When we look at all of his attributes, you can talk about his height and pace but it's actually about his competitiveness as we have seen it this year.

"He is at his best when he has something to prove. He's had the bit between his teeth in these last two Test matches and that has served him particularly well over the course of his career."

Strauss, who served as managing director of England cricket after his retirement and currently chairs the ECB's cricket committee, also cautioned against drawing the curtain too quickly on the era of Broad and James Anderson, who took his 500th Test wicket in 2017.

"It goes without saying they are two of England's greatest of all time and what has really impressed me with both them is their hunger to continue," said Strauss.

"Let's write them off at our peril and let's not be in a hurry to pension them off because they have both got a lot more to offer England."

The series is tied at 1-1 with West Indies winning the first Test in Southampton by four wickets, before England hit back securing victory at Old Trafford by 113 runs.

Updated: July 27, 2020 10:20 PM

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