With frontline pace trio Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood rested for next week’s third Ashes Test, Pat Cummins and Peter Siddle have been given a chance to make an impression in Derby.
Cummins is taking part in his first first-class game in nearly two years and just his seventh overall due to a spate of injuries, and he claimed a wicket as Derbyshire reached 81 for two at lunch.
However, rain set in at the 3aaa County Ground during the lunch interval and showed no signs of abating by the time umpires Chris Gaffaney and Tom Lungley abandoned play for the day at 3pm.
The tourists, having racked up 413 for nine on the first day thanks to centuries from opening batsmen David Warner and Shaun Marsh, declared their innings overnight in order to give their bowlers some practice.
It was a watchful start from Derbyshire openers Ben Slater and Hamish Rutherford, with Siddle keeping things characteristically tight, conceding just one run from his first five overs.
Just as the Derbyshire batsmen appeared to have seen off the danger, Cummins made the breakthrough when New Zealand international Rutherford edged behind for 14.
Slater only contributed 20 before top-edging to Adam Voges in the slips, giving Shane Watson his first wicket of the tour.
Watson’s ineffectiveness with the ball during Australia’s defeat to England in the Ashes opener at Cardiff was one of the factors for his axing before the second match at Lord’s last week.
At Lord’s, his replacement Mitchell Marsh made a couple of big breakthroughs as Australia waltzed to a thumping 405-run win to level the series although the younger all-rounder was wicketless in his seven overs at the County Ground yesterday.
Derbyshire captain Wayne Madsen and young batsman Scott Elstone took the hosts through to lunch without further loss before the inclement weather came in and washed out play for the remainder of the day.
Rain was also a major player in Chittagong, where the first Test between Bangladesh and South Africa now looks certain to end in a draw after day four was completely washed out by a downpour.
Bangladesh have lost all eight previous Tests against their opponents, seven by an innings, but this one was finely poised after three days with the Tigers leading by 17 against the Proteas who still have all their second-innings wickets intact.
But the rain set in early yesterday and did not relent with play officially called off around 1:30pm local time.
Should South Africa bat out day five, Dale Steyn will be left waiting for his 400th Test wicket having claimed Mustafizur Rahman as victim 399 on Thursday. South Africa enter the final day on 61 without loss with Stiaan van Zyl (33) and Dean Elgar (28) both undefeated.