Forecasts overnight predicted the worst but Alastair Cook and Mahendra Singh Dhoni made it out for the toss on time for a planned 10.30am start, with the home skipper winning and choosing to bowl first.
But as the national anthems were played a light shower began and the covers were brought on behind the teams, who immediately left the field.
From there on the groundstaff saw more action than the players, fetching the covers on and off on three occasions as the rain eased off and then restarted with frustrating regularity.
Umpires Kumar Dharmasena and Rod Tucker were set to complete a mid-day inspection but the heaviest rain yet forced an early lunch to be taken at 12.30pm.
As and when play does get under way the match conditions will be significantly altered, with a reduction in overs already a certainty.
With no reserve day in place, the trophy would be shared in the event of no play.
Technically that would end England's 38-year wait for a first global 50-over success, though hardly in the desired circumstances.
- Sports & Recreation
- Mahendra Singh Dhoni
- Alastair Cook
- Kumar Dharmasena