LONDON, England (AFP) – Rain meant there was no play before lunch on the fourth day of the fifth and final Ashes Test between England and Australia at The Oval on Saturday.
Persistent early morning rain prevented play starting as scheduled at 11.00am local time (1000GMT) and the umpires brought forward the lunch interval by 30 minutes to 12:30pm (1130GMT).
Conditions worsened during the morning, the rain growing more intense under increasingly grey skies as the pitch and square remained fully covered.
The bad weather was especially frustrating for Australia, who were seeking a first win in nine Tests and trying to avoid their first Ashes series without a Test victory since 1977.
England, who at 3-0 up had already won the series and retained the Ashes, were 246 for four at stumps on the third day in reply to Australia's first innings 492 for nine declared,
That left England 245 runs behind and still requiring a further 46 runs to avoid the follow-on.
Ian Bell, who came into this match having scored exactly 500 runs in the series with three hundreds, was 29 not out and Test debutant Chris Woakes unbeaten on 15.