CRICKET

Testing climate poses questions over South Africa-NZ series

Cricket South Africa to issue a statement on Monday after heavy rain washes out Durban test against NZ and threatens viability of Pretoria.

Testing climate poses questions over South Africa-NZ series
ROGAN WARD REUTERS

A wet outfield again prevented play on the fourth day of the first test between South Africa and New Zealand in what is becoming an increasing embarrassment for the hosts.

Heavy rain on Saturday night left the outfield at Kingsmead patchy, muddy and dangerous for the players and no improvement in the situation despite two clear days meant no play for a second successive day.

First winter test in Durban

Despite a gusty wind overnight, wet patches remained and any possibility of play ended after a 2pm inspection, raising questions about a recent decision to relay the outfield. It is also the first ever winter test in Durban.

New Zealand were struggling at 15 for two in reply to South Africa's first innings of 263 before the rain came just before lunch on Saturday -- consigning the teams to their changing rooms for the last two and a half days.

A soggy draw seems inevitable with only one day left to play.

Ground staff cover the pitch after the play was abandoned.

Pitch improvements

Work was done to improve the outfield in Durban – removing sand and grass and relaying it - after both teams complained that it was too hard when they played there last year in a one-day international. The work was completed on July 1 but recent flooding and a lack of sunshine has not helped the grass to properly cover, leaving it soft underfoot and patchy. The latest rains have exacerbated the situation.

The timing of the work is now under question as a similar process in Pretoria, where the second test is to be played next week, was completed in April.

Cricket South Africa statement

Cricket South Africa told Reuters they would issue a statement on the situation later on Monday.