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How long are lunch and tea in Test cricket? What time the Ashes breaks are and today’s schedule explained

The crucial fourth Test of the men’s Ashes is under way, with rain just as much England’s enemy as Australia.

England took total command of the Test on day two, thanks to a barbarous 189 from Zak Crawley, who shared a 206-run stand with Joe Root.

However, with significant amounts of rain forecast in Manchester over the weekend, their dominant performance may be for nought. At 2-2 down in the series, they must win this Test to have any chance of regaining the Ashes – a draw would mean that even if England win the final match at the Oval, the series would finish 2-2 and Australia would retain the urn.

Here’s everything you need to know about playing time, from lunch and tea breaks to how long they can play on for in the evenings after a weather delay.

When do the players take lunch and tea?

Each day’s play will begin at 11am, weather permitting, and the first session lasts until 1pm, when the players take lunch.

The lunch break lasts for 40 minutes, meaning play resumes at 1.40pm.

The second session is two hours long, ending at 3.40pm for tea. Play will then resume again at 4pm.

The day will normally end at 6pm. However, an extra half-hour is allowed at the end of each day in order for the fielding team to complete the 90 overs which are supposed to be bowled in a day.

If there have been rain or bad light delays then play can be extended up until 7.30pm, so long as the teams are back out on the field by 7pm.

What is the Old Trafford weather forecast?

The Met Office says there is a 40 per cent chance of rain between midday and 4pm on Friday, and more rain could come in around 6pm.

That means day three may see some disruption, though it is likely a good amount of play can go ahead, and with the weather set to brighten up a little after 6pm, play could be extended into the evening.

The cloudy conditions should favour the bowlers, with temperatures peaking at 17ºC.

Unfortunately for England fans, there is a chance Saturday could be completely washed out. The Met Office is predicting rain throughout the day, much of which could be heavy.

Sunday, though, is currently expected to be a little brighter. The Met Office says there is a 40 per cent chance of rain between 10am and 4pm, dropping to 30 per cent in the evening. Temperatures should peak around 19ºC.

How can I watch the Ashes live?

The Ashes will be shown live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Cricket, with full coverage of every ball, as well as daily highlights.

The pundits and commentators on board for the series are Ian Ward, Nasser Hussain, Mike Atherton, Ricky Ponting, Mark Taylor, Mel Jones, Eoin Morgan, Kevin Pietersen, Kumar Sangakkara, Mark Butcher, Dinesh Karthik, Sir Andrew Strauss.

If you prefer to listen on the radio, there will be ball-by-ball commentary on BBC Test Match Special, which can be found on BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra, the BBC Sport website, and BBC Radio 4 longwave. This will be the final Ashes series to be broadcast on longwave, which is being wound down by the BBC.

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