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December 15, 2008
What could have been an interesting final day at Dunedin's University Oval turned out to be a damp squib. Heavy overnight rain and then persistent drizzle through the morning led to the match being abandoned at lunch, although such was the state of the outfield that decision had long been little more than a formality.
This ground's second Test has been blighted by poor weather, with two days completely washed out, and only one full day - the fourth - possible. Questions have been asked about the drainage and the ability of the staff to cope with the elements. Although the rain had stopped by lunch and the covers removed, it was the state of the outfield which led to the abandonment.
Ross Dykes, the Otago Cricket Association chief executive, defended the set-up at the ground. "We had a huge amount of rainfall and I think we probably did everything we could," he said. A report in the Herald on Sunday had slammed the venue and called it a "club ground". Dykes said the story was insulting to Dunedin, the University Oval and the groundstaff.
"It has to be appreciated that this ground is the old Pelichet Bay, so it is reclaimed land," Dykes said. "When you get that amount of rainfall, you get to a point where you can clear off the surface moisture but by trying to get more out you only end up dragging more up."
The teams now fly to Napier to start preparations for Friday's second Test. They are likely to be greeted by more rain there, but the forecast gets better as week goes on.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.