LONDON: Lord's has just under two weeks to get its outfield up to scratch for the third cricket Test match between England and South Africa following the end of the Olympic archery tournament.
Despite it being the height of the English cricket season, the 225-year-old Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), which owns Lord's, decided to let the iconic northwest London ground be used by Games chiefs as the Olympic archery venue.
But with the final archery gold medal having been won Friday by Oh Jin-Hyek of South Korea, Lord's has 12 days before reverting to its 'day job' with the start of the final Test on August 16.
“Since 2003, when MCC first offered its support to the London Olympic bid, until the time when the final archery medal was won Friday, the club has been immensely honoured to have been involved in the biggest sporting event in the world,” said MCC chief executive Derek Brewer in a statement.
Lord's is widely known as 'the home of cricket' and Brewer added: “LOCOG (the London Organising Committee of the Games) has done a fantastic job in transforming Lord's into the 'Home of Archery', and will help MCC in the next phase to convert it back to a cricket ground.”
As well as the archers and targets, special temporary stands were set up on the outfield to bring spectators closer to the action.
But Brewer said: “We have a very comprehensive plan running over the course of the next 13 days.
“This has been drawn up by LOCOG and MCC, and the excellent teamwork demonstrated by the two organisations will ensure Lord's is restored for the staging of the England v South Africa Test Match.
“This plan covers both the decommissioning of LOCOG's archery overlay as well as MCC's preparations for the Test.”
MCC have appointed turf consultants to conduct the repair works required for certain areas of the outfield.
Some parts will be re-turfed, while others are repaired.
Throughout the entire Olympic period, MCC head groundsman Mick Hunt and his staff continued to maintain the square and to prepare the Test pitch.
Immediately after the English cricket season finishes in September, the whole outfield will be relaid.
South Africa are currently 1-0 up in series which, if they win it, will see them replace England at the top of the International Cricket Council's world Test rankings.
The second Test at Headingley, the home ground of Yorkshire in Leeds, northern England, started on Thursday.