Eng vs SA: Tributes paid to Queen Elizabeth II

"It's always very special to stand on the ground and sing the national anthem and obviously today will have even more on it," England captain Ben Stokes told the BBC before play.
Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth IIReuters

LONDON: Tributes were paid to Queen Elizabeth II before the start of play on day three of the third Test between England and South Africa, here on Saturday.

A minute's silence was observed before the national anthems, with 'God Save The King' followed by sustained applause from the crowd.

Players from both sides and the match officials, who are wearing black armbands, entered the field through a military guard of honour before the ground fell silent. The period of silence was ended by a single chime of a bell from the highest-ranking military official in attendance, Senior NCO Robert Brockelsby Miller of the Irish Guards.

Singer Laura Wright performed the anthems, firstly of South Africa before God Save The King. Movingly, the Oval crowd joined in with the new anthem of Britain, followed by the applause which only ended when James Anderson delivered the first ball of the match.

"It's always very special to stand on the ground and sing the national anthem and obviously today will have even more on it," England captain Ben Stokes told the BBC before play.

"The national anthem might be sung a little bit louder than it is normally, and rightly so. It's great knowing that we're going to be playing this game, not just for us but in memory of the Queen, so it's a very special occasion for us," he added.

Earlier, no play was possible on day one because of rain before day two was called off as a mark of respect for Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away on Thursday at the age of 96. The match has therefore begun on the third morning, with South Africa batting after England won the toss on Thursday.

Saturday's play has been considered as day three of the Test. There were discussions over extending the match into a sixth day on Tuesday but that was ultimately not deemed possible because South Africa are due to fly home on Tuesday before they tour India and Australia.

The series is currently tied 1-1 and the Oval Test is a crucial one for South Africa in particular with ICC World Test Championship points at stake. South Africa were usurped from the top spot of the standings after the loss to England in the second Test.

On the other hand, England are seventh in the standings after eight losses and six wins. The WTC table is currently topped by Australia, which boasts of a win percentage of 70 percent.

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