England and Pakistan have agreed to flexible start times for the third and final Test of their ongoing series.
The decision comes after bad light delays in gloomy, but often dry, Southampton conditions ruined the second meeting between the two teams, with only 134.3 overs of play possible across five days in a frustrating draw.
England head coach Chris Silverwood and captain Joe Root had spoken positively about an idea to make up lost time by starting at 10:30 local time, rather than the fixed usual 11:00 start for the team’s home Tests.
That has previously been avoided due to complications it causes spectators travelling to grounds, but that is not presently an issue with the coronavirus pandemic meaning the series is being played behind closed doors.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) August 20, 2020
A deal has now been agreed for the next match, which begins on Friday, so time can also be made up at the start of a day’s play.
Implementing the new rule for future series which take place in England is also under consideration.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed “positive discussions” on the subject were held with the International Cricket Council (ICC), match referee Chris Broad and broadcast partners.
A statement from the ECB on Thursday read: “Revised start times have been agreed with the captains and coaches of both England and Pakistan and will be implemented for the final match of this series.
“The flexible approach will enable the prospect of making up time for inclement weather during the morning session of subsequent days rather than at the end of the day.
“Match officials will ensure that light is monitored to maximise playing time while it is still safe to do so. The safety of the players is still the number one priority for this protocol.”
England, who lead 1-0 as they seek a first series win over Pakistan for 10 years, have named an unchanged 14-man squad for the contest.