Flexible start times for third Test

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England v Pakistan
The second Test between England and Pakistan ended in a draw

Flexible start times for England’s third Test against Pakistan have been agreed after the second Test was ruined by rain and bad light.

If time is lost on a particular day at the Ageas Bowl, officials will have the option of starting play 30 minutes earlier on the following day.

That means action could begin at 10:30 BST, rather than the usual 11:00.

Only a day and a half’s play was possible over the five days of the second Test in Southampton.

England lead the series 1-0 and are looking for a first success over Pakistan in 10 years.

Test matches in England usually make up any lost time at the end of a day, meaning play can sometimes go on as late as 19:00 or 19:30.

Earlier start times had previously been avoided partly to allow spectators time to travel to the venue.

With matches being played behind closed doors because of the coronavirus pandemic, that is not a consideration for matches this summer.

However, the England and Wales Cricket Board says the earlier starts will also be considered for future series in this country.

England coach Chris Silverwood had previously said he would support earlier starts.

“It makes sense to me,” he said. “We have a period at the start of the day we could use, but we try to lump it at the end when light is an issue.”

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