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At The 3rd Stroke

Australian Cricket Tours - Peter Holt Looks At His Watch Whilst Waving His Australian Flag, Wondering What Time Play Would Re-Start In Chittagong, During The Australia V Bangladesh Test Match In 2006

Besides the consistent lack of 90 overs bowled in a day's play, one of my biggest bug-bears following cricket is match timings. Play often starts 1-2 minutes late, yet the session always ends smack on-time instead of 1-2 minutes late. There was no more confusing match timing than that of Day 1 in Chittagong, during the Australian Test Cricket Tour of Bangladesh in 2006.

With the Test Match scheduled to start at a bizarre 10.10am, play didn't start until 10.14am. Late start aside, the 40min lunch break was due at 12.10pm, however, at 12.05pm the umpires called lunch and 53mins later the first ball of the 2nd session was bowled. A 2-hour session should have followed, but 1hr and 44mins later the umpires called tea and we stood (especially Peter Holt here) flummoxed as to know why they walked off so early and importantly what time play would re-commence.

Surprisingly, precisely 20mins later the final session started, scheduled to end at 5.10pm. With 30mins added to bowl the near enough to 90 overs for the day, play should end at 5.40pm according to the playing conditions and an untold number of matches past. With 3 overs to go at 5.57pm the umpires called bad-light and play ended. Who knows why aside everyone but the lowly spectators! At least we saw the umpires seemingly exercise 'discretion', something rarely seen in the game! If the light is good, play on, even if the time is all wrong!

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