The first day of Lancashire’s LV= Insurance County Championship match against second-placed Essex in Blackpool was severely impacted by the rain, with only 28 balls being available during which time Essex made 12 for one.

Both teams had to make changes due to injuries. Essex opener Feroze Khushi missed last week’s Vitality Blast due to a sore hand, and Lancashire rested Daryl Mitchell to help the international all-rounder deal with a groin problem.

Two brief play segments that bookended this remarkable day were divided into two parts.

Essex won the toss after a deceptively sunny morning and decided to bat under dimming skies, a decision that Nick Browne undoubtedly agreed with after he edged Tom Bailey’s fourth delivery of the day to Colin de Grand Homme at third slip without scoring a score.

Alastair Cook was able to hit a four off the back foot off of Will Williams’ 25th delivery, while Essex captain Tom Westley was able to swipe Bailey to fine leg for four off the opening ball of the fifth over.

At that point, rain began to fall, forcing the players off the field for more than six hours. It was a tribute to the Blackpool club that their outfield, which had been re-laid three years earlier, fared brilliantly during the daytime downpour.

After many inspections, permitted umpires Peter Hartley and Steve O’Shaughnessy to allow play to resume at 5.30 p.m. However, only three balls had been bowled in Bailey’s interrupted over before poor lighting once again stopped play, and further rain minutes later put an end to a very difficult day.