Ashes 2021: Rain spoils England’s first warm-up match

The first of Englandโ€™s Ashes warm-ups was abandoned after only 29 overs were possible in the three-day tour match between the two visiting sides.

Persistent rain and storms restricted play on Tuesday and ensured no play was possible on Wednesday or Thursday between England and the England Lions at Peter Burge Oval in Brisbane’s bayside suburbs.

The England squad has another internal tour match scheduled from next Tuesday at Ian Healy Oval in Brisbane before the five-Test Ashes series starts December 8 at the Gabba.

With more rain on the forecast for early next week, there’s the prospect that England’s star players Joe Root and Ben Stokes could start the first Test without any practice in match conditions.

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Allrounder Stokes hasn’t played a Test match since March. His last game of any form of cricket was in July, with injuries and time away from the game for mental health reasons keeping him on the sidelines.

Stokes was in the first group of England cricketers who arrived in Brisbane on November 6 to begin a 14-day quarantine at a luxury Gold Coast resort. The remainder of the squad, including Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler, arrived following England’s semifinal loss to New Zealand at the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

The wet weather could also affect Australiaโ€™s preparations, with a three-day intra-squad match scheduled for Peter Burge Oval from next Wednesday set to determine the final make-up of the home side for the Gabba Test.

Australia holds the Ashes, having won at home in 2017-18 and retaining the urn when the 2019 series in England was drawn.

The Australians are coming off a victory in the T20 World Cup but have had limited preparation for long-form cricket and are uncertain over who will lead the test team. Captain Tim Paine quit last week after details were published of a text-message scandal from four years ago. His replacement is set to be announced later this week.

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