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Early finish a boon for the poor

Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir, on Wednesday

Calcutta/London: England beating India inside three days in the fourth Test at Old Trafford may not have been good news for ground authorities, who lost out on two days’ worth of takings. It certainly wasn’t good for the visitors either.

But England’s victory, which put the hosts 2-1 up in the five-match series, did have one unexpected spin-off.

Lancashire County Cricket Club, the owners of Old Trafford, were able to use sandwiches, initially ordered to feed all the staff and volunteers on the fourth and fifth days of the Test, to provide support to local homeless people.

Rather than seeing the food go to waste, the club donated the sandwiches to Narrowgate Emergency Accommodation in the hope of “making a small difference” to the homeless people of the Salford area of Manchester this week.

Martin Crowhurst, project manager for Narrowgate Emergency Accommodation, based in Salford, said: “Monday was a wet and miserable day, so it was great to welcome our homeless guests to a feast of sandwiches supplied by Lancashire County Cricket Club through the LCCC Foundation.

“We served them up with hot soup and were able to offer more as a takeaway service for the next day.

“This was especially significant as some daytime drop-in centres for the homeless are currently on summer shut downs. That night we were also overbooked, which meant we had to turn some people away. But we could at least send them away with sandwiches.”

Meanwhile, England players, too, showed off their artistic side, contributing sketches and throwing their support behind the Cricket United fundraising day when the fifth Test gets underway at The Oval.

Opener Sam Robson has had a tough time out in the ongoing series as an opener.

But he has contributed with two of the 17 sketches that will be auctioned to raise awareness of Saturday’s Cricket United Day and funds for the cricket charities Chance to Shine, the Lord’s Taverners and the Professional Cricketers Association’s Benevolent Fund.

Robson has drawn Gary Ballance celebrating with his shirt off and showing a much flatter six-pack than the one captured outside a Nottingham nightclub following the Nottingham Test.

He has also put some work into an impressively accurate sketch of Shane Warne who has a ball in one hand and cigarette in the other.