England’s third and final Test against South Africa will resume this weekend after Ben Stokes said he would be “honoured” to play in the Queen’s memory.
What was supposed to be day two of the LV= Insurance series decider at the Kia Oval was called off on Friday as a mark of respect following the death of the long-reigning monarch.
There were suggestions the Test could be postponed or cancelled, but the England and Wales Cricket Board gave the green light to all international, domestic and recreational fixtures going ahead from Saturday “to pay tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and honour her remarkable life and service”.
Cricket to Resume and Pay Tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II pic.twitter.com/V8uhSkbF93
— England and Wales Cricket Board (@ECB_cricket) September 9, 2022
The ECB’s decision, taken after consultations with the DCMS and in line with the Government guidance on the period of mourning which advised cancelling matches was not mandatory, means the Women’s Twenty20 between England and India at Chester-le-Street will also take place as planned.
England men’s Test captain Stokes, responding to a question about whether sporting events should proceed this weekend, earlier tweeted: “She loved sport, be honoured to play in her memory.”
Saturday will remain day three of the Test, as scheduled, following a washout on Thursday, with all players and coaches wearing black armbands to commemorate the Queen.
A minute’s silence and the national anthems will be carried out before the start of play, which looks set to be the first sporting rendition of ‘God Save The King’.
She loved sport, be honoured to play in her memory ❤️ https://t.co/sNSJ3qJreW
— Ben Stokes (@benstokes38) September 9, 2022
The ECB and Cricket South Africa explored the option of extending the Test into Tuesday but the tourists will stick to their original plan of flying home on that day.
The CSA decision was taken to allow its players to spend a few days at home before embarking on tours of India and Australia and effectively determines a three-day Test against England.
CSA chief executive Pholetsi Moseki said: “CSA is in full support of the ECB’s decision to go ahead with the third Test match between England and South Africa following the UK’s day of mourning.
“After consultation with the Proteas’ team management and given the schedule ahead, it was clear that it would not be in the players’ interests to extend the Test and reduce the few days the players have with their families before another long tour.”
The toss and teams remain the same – with Stokes electing to bowl first before persistent showers ruled out the prospect of any play on Thursday – with 98 overs scheduled for each of the last three days.
There was plenty of anticipation for this match, with the Proteas winning the Lord’s opener by an innings before England returned the favour at Emirates Old Trafford as both Tests finished inside three days.
Speaking earlier this week while contemplating the prospect of rain interrupting play, South Africa captain Dean Elgar insisted there would be “a winner in this Test” which he was treating “like a World Cup final”.
Surrey have announced fancy dress will not be permitted in the ground, a historical asset owned by the Duchy of Cornwall, across the three days, while fans will be limited to buying two alcoholic drinks at a time.
Surrey said in a statement: “It is a chance for all of us to recognise the extraordinary contribution the Queen has made to public life, and we ask that all fans behave in such a way that shows we are equal to the moment.”