Yorkshire and Essex were left contemplating a soggy start to the new season as the opening day of their Specsavers County Championship match at Emerald Headingley was abandoned shortly after lunch.

Overnight and morning rain, adding to what has come down during the last fortnight or so in Leeds, rendered the outfield unplayable.

And a prompt start for day two is already in significant doubt.

When play does get underway, Essex will hand a debut to Australian seamer Peter Siddle, who is with the champions until next month when he will be replaced by New Zealand quick Neil Wagner.

Yorkshire have a seam bowling unavailability and injury crisis, and have ruled Ben Coad (hip flexor) out of this match despite naming him in a 12-man squad.

He is likely to play in a second-team friendly against Lancashire next week with the aim of being fit to face Nottinghamshire here next weekend.

It means Yorkshire are with Liam Plunkett and David Willey, who are at the IPL, Matthew Fisher and James Wainman (both side problems), Coad and Steve Patterson, who broke his finger in training on Wednesday.

Youngsters Josh Shaw and Matthew Waite will play.

Yorkshire director of professional cricket Martyn Moxon said: “To have the weather we’ve had over the last couple of weeks is hugely frustrating.

“To mark the start of the season like this is particularly disappointing.

“We practiced on it (Headingley) for the first time on Wednesday, and the outfield is just completely waterlogged. As soon as the bowlers run in a few times, you are looking at mud and water coming up.

“The outfield is in a bad way. We need some sun and wind very quickly.”

New Essex coach Anthony McGrath, the former Yorkshire captain, said: “We half expected it given the forecast and the way the weather’s been up here for the last three or four weeks. But it’s not ideal.

“We had a quick walk out when we came to drop our bags off (on Thursday evening), and it was really wet then. Just talking to a few of the Yorkshire lads, they say the wet weather keeps topping up what they’ve had all winter and it’s got nowhere to go.

“We’ve been quite lucky at Chelmsford.

"We managed somehow to get outside netting for four days from March 1 before we went to Barbados. That was a remarkable effort from our ground staff.

"We’ve also been outside for the last week, but only with bowlers off shortened run-ups.

“We’ve made the best of it and are pretty happy with what we’ve done."