Persistent rain delayed start of the second Test at Lord’s. @Twitter/Home of Cricket

Rain prevented play before lunch on the first day of the second Ashes 2019 Test between England and Australia at Lord’s on Wednesday.

When the match should have been getting underway at 11:00 am (1000 GMT), the square and pitch remained fully covered.

Further rain then meant hopes of any play in the first session soon disappeared, with the prospect of the players taking the field at all on Wednesday increasingly slim.

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Ashes-holders Australia lead the five-match series 1-0 after their 251-run win in the first Test at Edgbaston last week.

It is 18 years since Australia last won an Ashes series in England. In 17 of the last 19 Ashes campaigns, the team that has led 1-0 has won the series.

The exceptions were in 1997 when Australia lost at Edgbaston, but won the six-match series 3-2 and 2005 when England lost at Lord’s but won the five-Test series 2-1.

England were set to give a debut to fast bowler Jofra Archer after James Anderson, their all-time leading wicket-taker, was ruled out with a calf injury that meant he bowled just four overs at Edgbaston.

ALSO READ: Jofra Archer Test debut: Michael Clarke to Prithvi Shaw, five much-awaited Test debuts

Neither England nor Australia have yet named their teams. They are not required to do so until the toss takes place.

Earlier, England captain Joe Root said he has no qualms about launching self-assured Archer’s Test cricket career in the cauldron at Lord’s. If selected, Archer will be making his Test debut on the ground where he bowled the decisive Super Over that sealed England’s ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 final win over New Zealand last month.

“He (Archer) is certainly very confident and that’s great to see in a young guy, as he should be after the World Cup,” Root said at Lord’s on Tuesday.