England captain Ben Stokes said it was an honour for his side to walk out in the third Test against South Africa at The Oval in memory of the late Queen Elizabeth II, saying the show must go on.
Before the start of day three’s play, a minute’s silence by everyone present in the stadium was observed before the national anthems were sung by singer Laura Wright, with ‘God Save The King’ sung followed by sustained applause from the crowd.
Players from both sides and the match officials, who were wearing black armbands, entered the field through a military guard of honour before the ground fell silent. The period of silence was ended by a single chime of a bell from the highest-ranking military official in attendance, Senior NCO Robert Brockelsby Miller of the Irish Guards.
“It has been very sad news for not only the nation but the world. She is someone who dedicated their (her) life to the nation, and that is something we can take incredible inspiration from. We were (are) honoured to be able to walk out in memory of The Queen.”
“We know how much she loved the sport. The show must go on. Sport is something that brings people together. I’m sure she will be proud that we’re walking out in her honour,” said Stokes after the end of day three’s play on Sky Sports.
Veteran pacer Stuart Broad remarked that Saturday felt like a celebration of Her Majesty’s life. “It was incredible actually. It was amazing to be a part of. To walk down those stairs, every single player commented on how special it was to walk down: You could hear a pin drop. The respect shown by everyone in the stadium was incredible.”
“To be able to sing the national anthem, with a full house, just about to represent your country was brilliant. I feel really glad with whoever decided to put this game on; it felt like almost a celebration of the Queen’s life. It felt good to be out there representing the badge like we today.”
At stumps, Ollie Robinson’s five-wicket haul (5/49) and Ollie Pope’s fifty (67) helped England take a slim advantage over South Africa, leading by 36 runs with the hosts at 154-7 after bowling out the visitors for 118 in their first innings.