Player of the Match
Player of the Match

41 | 2 Runs | NZ: 137/2

  • Brendon McCullum58 (91b)
  • Ross Taylor48 (68b)
  • Vernon Philander12-2-29-1
  • Morne Morkel9-2-33-0

2.30pm So in the end the rain has the final say and we have a bit of a damp squib. Quite unfortunate really, considering the high quality of cricket we saw on the first four days and the tantalising manner in which the final day chase was set up. There were hundreds for Smith, the two Jacques, as well as Amla and McCullum fifties. The bowling was top-notch as well, with Chris Martin and Vernon Philander picking up four wickets each, allied to hostile spells from the support crew as well. Firdose and Andrew will have stories up for you shortly. I will be back next Sunday, but our coverage will resume on Thursday for the opening day of the Hamilton Test. Do join us then, but for now this is Avi Singh signing off on behalf of Sanjay Murari, Andrew Fernando and Firdose Moonda. Thanks for all the mails today, we hope you enjoyed the coverage. Cheers!

2.20pm A visibly dejected Graeme Smith: "Yeah, we expected the rain, that's why we gave a pretty sporting declaration to give ourselves an opportunity to try and win the game. Brendan and Ross batted well yesterday, but we hoped to have them five down before the second new ball. It's always great to have three hundreds in a Test, we would have loved to finish today but it wasn't to be. It's part of international cricket now that you have to adjust quickly [to new formats and overseas conditions], with the time changes guys came in and tried to find their feet, we improved as the match went on and hopefully everyone will hit their straps in Hamilton. The pitch was slower as the match went on, it started to die really. [Steyn's toe] seems fine, he's just looking for some sympathy!" Smith is also the Man of the Match for his first-innings fifty and second-innings hundred.

2.15pm Simon Doull talking to Ross Taylor: "Would have been an interesting day's cricket, we were still a chance of getting 260 more but I'm sure that South Africa would have also wanted to get out there. Our first innings was disappointing, a missed opportunity, but it was nice to bat well yesterday to set up for today. it was a lot flatter than we were expecting, it was tough on the bowlers, there might be some more grass in Hamilton. I haven't spoken to KJ [Karl Johnson, the Seddon Park groundsman] yet!"

2.10pm The umpires have made the eminently sensible decision to officially call the match off. It was simply too wet, and with the rain not relenting, chances of play resuming were always slim. The match ends as a draw and the two teams will head to Seddon Park in Hamilton for the 2nd Test starting this Thursday with the series still level at 0-0.

2.05pm Jim says: "Re: Glenn Turner: This a frequent debate in baseball as well. The empirical evidence overwhelmingly supports limiting pitch counts. Considering the fact that bowling actions are just as "unnatural" as pitching motions, I'd be surprised if it would be different for cricket."

Smudgeon: "The weather isn't kind to NZ cricket. Not making any assumptions, but do the wet summers have anything to do with cricket's popularity in NZ relative to other sports? Rugby - a game not so weather dependent - is incredibly popular in NZ, and I understand netball (played indoors) is also more popular than cricket..." Rugby union by far and away the most popular sport in the country. Cricket is easily the most popular summer sport, but in terms of grassroots numbers it would lag behind football, or soccer as some of you may know it, and netball, which is very popular with schoolgirls.

Elwarko: "I lived in Dunedin for seven years. Believe it or not, March / April is the best weather in the city. You will always get rain in NZ. It's not called Aotearoa, which translates as the Land of the Long White Cloud, for nothing."

2.00pm Shaylin: "Just on the earlier points on the scheduling of this test match...Dunedin is further south than Hobart and all of Hobart's 10 test matches have been played mid-November to mid-January. Dunedin's previous test matches began at least 8 weeks before the start of this test. Why would NZC schedule Dunedin as a test venue in March is beyond me?"

1.45pm Former New Zealand captain, coach and selector Glenn Turner has written an interesting column today on where he argues that contemporary bowlers are being 'killed with kindness'. One of his most intriguing points is that "I'm not aware of other sportsmen and sportswomen only putting themselves through a fraction of the workloads that their codes require."

Greg: "Early March is usually a great time for cricket in NZ, daylight savings hasn't even ended yet!! The problem is that we have had an extremely wet summer, so it wouldn't have mattered when they played it, chances are it would have rained."

1.40pm AI: "I'm with Brad, this isn't "the New Zealand summer of cricket", its the New Zealand autumn of cricket. If you schedule a test in March at the most southerly test ground in the world (am I wrong there?) you are rolling the dice weather-wise. Ironically, Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday forecasts look great... can you come back?"

1.25pm Firdose tells me that unofficially, the match cannot be called off until 3.00pm local time at the earliest.

1.05pm Back from lunch to see vision of Graeme Smith forlornly staring into the Dunedin gloom from the South African changing room. The rain continues to fall, and play is no closer to beginning than at the start of the day.

The praise for Dravid continues to stream in. Vijay Parimoo: "Rahul Dravid has been the rock of Indian batting for over a decade and my best wishes to him on his retirement. I hope he comes back in some form to keep serving the sport and millions of his fans. Seeing the recent Aussie series, he could be the batting (patience) coach."

Brad says: "In defence of New Zealand, we do get summer here and it does bring appropriate weather for cricket, but it ends with February."

12.30pm Finally we reach the official lunch break, although I suspect the players have already gobbled down some delicious delights while watching the rain wash away chances of play.

James Smith says: "Sorry to Antonio and others but I disagree with a reserve day for weather. Even in 6 days the weather can ruin the result. Its part of life and cricket that the weather sometimes triumphs. The ICC is heading the right way with extending play when time is lost on other days." And on that note, I am off for some more substantial sustenance as well. See you in 30 minutes.

12.25pm Scott Styris is even more confident than AB de Villiers on Twitter: "Doesn't look good in Dunners! South Africa to escape with a draw. Oh well we can only win the series 2-0 now."

Vansh: "Why don't we have a D/L system for Tests? Has it ever been considered? I just hate it when 3 days of genuine play goes to waste, when we get only one day or a bit of it of rain."

Dheeraj: "Steve and Sunil, on the flip side, cricket is one of those games which allows for unfit players to get a breather or complete rest via substitute fielders."

T.M. Reddy: "ICC should consider one more type of Test cricket that is a one-innings Test which can circumvent some of the problems associated with two innings game of 5 days. Maybe the one inning game can be limited to 3 days. Most of the games will give the results too." That sounds much like an extended ODI though, it is the two-innings aspect which is part of the uniqueness of Test cricket.

12.22pm The rain has steadily increased, and the groundstaff need at least 90 minutes to 2 hours to get the ground ready after it stops raining, so the situation looks bleak.

AB de Villiers is an optimistic man on Twitter: "Still raining here in Dunedin! Not looking good at the moment, but we've still got our fingers crossed for some action out there today!"

12.20pm Willie Kruger: "I recall England vs Australia at Lord's in 1980. They used to have a rest day between days 3 and 4. It was the only day with no rain. Unfortunately with the rules then also no play. I like the idea however of no result. Seeing 2 batsmen playing the day out is as good as a double ton."

'Rain is part of the game' says: "Part of the decision a captain faces is when to declare, and when to attack. South Africa would have known there was rain forecast, but instead of attacking, chose first to make sure they could not lose. They could easily have declared with a lead of 300 and aimed for a result yesterday, but chose to wait for their turn to be number one. If there is any play now today New Zealand should copy South Africa and ensure first they do not lose. Cricket is such a fantastic sport because there are so many things to think about including the weather."

Sunil: "I completely agree Steve, there have been countless occassions where an injury early in the Test match has made the rest of the match a one sided affair. This just bores the fan as most fans would like to see a real contest between two nations."

12.15pm Steve: "Further to your comment Antonio, cricket must be the only sport in the world that goes for 5 days and someone gets injured in the first 5 minutes and cant be replaced... I think this is crazy and does nothing for the game at all..."

Dheeraj: "While I completely agree with Antonio's point, there is a certain cheap thrill in watching (admittedly very few) games where a team battles on for its life on the 5th day waiting for the rain to turn savior."

12.10pm Giovaughn: " The opinions right now should be quite interesting. I bet the South African fans will be saying all we need is a session or two to knock 'em over. The Kiwis will be ruing a lost opportunity for Brendon, Ross & Daniel to give 'em a 1-0 lead. The Indians will be hoping for the sun to come out & the English will be singing 'Send Down The Rain'."

12.05pm Antonio makes an impassioned plea: "I feel like every year I beg for the same thing: can someone on the cricket boards please stand up and make the most obvious and useful decision for world cricket: make a provisional rain day. That way the players are happy, the fans are satisfied, and Test cricket moves away from the mockery that people make of the only game in existence with a strong chance of no finish! (with the exception of monopoly that is). Heck let's get completely crazy and do the same for ODIs and Twenty20 too! The Americans figured that one out a few decades ago. Time to wake up ICC!" It is interesting to note that in first-class cricket in India, there has often been provision for an extra day's play in order to force a result. Personally, I think a sensible schedule would allow for reserve days for ODIs, thus removing the reliance on the ever-controversial Duckworth-Lewis system.

12.00pm Dheeraj: "I wish we could all be as graceful as the man of the hour, Rahul Dravid, and stop downplaying the efforts of other players to highlight those of Dravid's. Be it Tendulkar, Ponting, Dravid or any other great for that matter of fact, each one had his own personality which reflected in their different playing styles. Let's just look, learn and enjoy."

11.55am Dravid wasn't the only cricketer to announce their retirement in the last few days. New Zealand's Peter Ingram has also bid farewell, while Englishwoman Isa Guha has also ended her international career.

11,50am Mark Kidger is back: "Rahul Dravid has gone when people are wondering why he wants to go. It's great timing. SRT is risking staying on long enough that people wonder why he didn't go before. The longer that hunt for the 100th hundred goes on, the more people will wonder why he didn't bow out earlier."

Basit: "Dravid! Cricket is sad and poorer without you for sure. A champion batsman and class act. I dare to say you are the best test batsman India has produced! No offence to Sachin but IMO Dravid was the real saviour of Indian cricket in Tests. You are matchless and will be missed and missed and missed... best of luck for your post retirement life."

11,45am Wellington is the place to be right now. The Plunket Shield match at the Basin Reserve between Wellington and Northern Districts is the only first-class match in New Zealand currently proceeding uninterrupted.

MrMegaM: "I think it would be harsh to say middle aged followers would be scared for the Indian Test team as Mukul Kesavan said. I'm pretty sure everyone realises what a great player they've lost and it is going to be interesting to see if the "more talented" youngsters are able to carry the Indian team like the Famous Five, not least Dravid, used to."

11.40am Another of our regulars Smudgeon says: "I never used to relax watching Australia play India until Dravid was out. The man was impossible to dig out, and IMO the best Indian batsman of the last 20 years. Often not rated so highly thanks to flashy strokemakers & accumulators, unfortunately."

Ben wants to stir things up: "Perhaps the world will unanimously remember Dravid as a better cricketer than Ponting owing to his voluntary departure from the top of the game?"

11.25am Syed Zaidi on Dravid: "I used to hate him while he was at the crease against Pakistan, but in fact he was one of the great cricketers and will be missed. He was a true role model and a great ambassador of his country."

Hardik: "Hurt or not, the most important thing is that Dravid leaves us wanting more."

11.20am Firdose tells me that it is very hazy at the University Oval, the rain is getting harder and the locals say there is next to no chance of play getting started. Still unsure on when they will take lunch though, but I guess with this weather it doesn't matter much. This is the New Zealand summer of cricket...

11.15am South African media manager Lerato Malekutu says on Twitter: "Still drizzling this side, almost like that Durban rain that just hangs.. #Dunedin".

11.10am The rain is light at the moment, but the forecasts suggest it will only get heavier later in the day. No word yet on exactly when lunch will be taken, or what the umpires are planning to do.

Rajat reminds of the Twitter tribute to Dravid doing the rounds: "Dravid re-defined `Retired Hurt`. He retired, but we are all hurt!"

11.05am Not much to report from the ground, still very wet. Those of you on Twitter can follow us @ESPNcricinfo, while Firdose also tweets @FirdoseM and I also take my place among the Twitterati @MannerOfSpeakin.

10.35am Of course, there has been much happening elsewhere in the cricket world, most notably, the 'sad, but proud' retirement of Rahul Dravid. I'm not ashamed to admit that he was my favourite cricketer, and indeed he was for many fans worldwide, who like those in the Cricinfo offices have undoubtedly been a touch distracted over the last few days.

He may have been under pressure in his last few Tests, but now the tributes have begun. Our editor Sambit Bal, who got to know the man fairly well, writes of 'a normalcy about him that is almost abnormal'.

Harsha Bhogle says that 'he is a good man and he batted like a good man.' Dravid's opponents seemed to think so too, as Jason Gillespie tells our man Nagraj Gollapudi that 'to simply refer to him as a defensive player is selling him short as a batsman'.

Mukul Kesavan says that Dravid's lasting legacy is that he created 'an alternative template for batting greatness... great defensive batting put to winning ends'.

Our stats editor S Rajesh rounds off the package with a numerical analysis of Dravid's career, and focuses particularly on the number 31, 258: balls faced by Dravid in his Test career, considerably more than anyone else in history.

10.25am Tom Tamati and his groundstaff are using rolled-up hessian covers to try and dry the outfield, but as it stands, an early lunch is a formality.

10.15am Check out the rest of Firdose's package from yesterday: the Plays of the Day, her look at Jacques Rudolph's century and her advice to New Zealand.

10.12am Mark Kidger, our resident feedbacker provides an accurate summary of supporters' feelings on both sides: "Rain: the romantics will talk of the glorious chase that we were robbed of; the realists will see South Africa robbed of a probable victory."

Toadfish Ferguson is quite chuffed, presumably not because of his first name: "Here's a plate of triangular cucumber sandwiches and Victoria sponge-worth of good luck to the Kiwis (and it has nothing at all to do with our utterly undeserved No. 1 position in the ICC Test rankings)... Back to coursework marking in unseasonably mild Eastbourne."

10.09am New Zealand Herald cricket writer Dylan Cleaver asks in frustration on Twitter: "In the entire history of Dunedin, has there ever been five fine days in a row?" Any locals willing to dampen (sorry, bad pun!) the pessimism?

10.00am Avi Singh with you to oversee the falling of the rain today, Sanjay Murari on scoring while Andrew Fernando and Firdose have been providing you with reading material throughout this Test. While we wait, check out Andrew's match report on yesterday's play.

9.50am Greetings to day five of this first Test between New Zealand and South Africa at the University Oval in Dunedin. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but our correspondent Firdose Moonda, who is in the southern city, says it rained heavily overnight, the ground is wet all around and overcast conditions lurk ominously. The groundstaff are sweeping water off the covers, but we are in for a long delay folks, I'm afraid. Wind and sun are noticeable by their absence, so whether the outfield will dry sufficiently remains to be seen.

I guess that's it for the day, folks, the light has deteriorated and the umpires, after a long consultation, have decided to call it off for the day. Taylor and McCullum have fought back very well after the loss of the openers, and that means the game is wide open going into the final day. Can they sustain this momentum tomorrow? Or will South Africa come back hard? Or will rain have the final say? Join us tomorrow to find out.

Philander to McCullum, no run, pushes it back towards the bowler
Philander to Taylor, 1 run, cut away past point for a single

It's become quite gloomy in Dunedin. Play began in overcast conditions today, but a very good turnout at the University Oval.

Philander to Taylor, no run, ooh, beaten this time, Taylor's struggling to spot the ball, fished for a good length ball that held its line, played inside the line to that one and missed
Philander to McCullum, 1 run, oooh, sharp from Philander, angled in, landed on middle and then nipped away, McCullum did well, playing it with soft hands behind point
Philander to McCullum, no run, pats it away towards extra cover this time
Philander to McCullum, no run, bowls it on a good length on middle and off, pushed back to the bowler

Will: "Siddhartha Talya, if you jinx these two by saying they should make it to stumps I will never forgive you."

Hmm, Just five more overs remaining

40 | 5 Runs | NZ: 135/2

  • Brendon McCullum57 (87b)
  • Ross Taylor47 (66b)
  • Morne Morkel9-2-33-0
  • Vernon Philander11-2-27-1
Morkel to McCullum, 1 run, short outside off, keeps it down while running it behind deep point for a single, thought of a second but it wasn't on offer
Morkel to McCullum, 2 runs, short on middle, turned through square leg, quite gently, that gives them just enough time to come back for the second, just a nudge from McCullum
Morkel to McCullum, no run, banged it short on middle, McCullum ducks underneath
Morkel to McCullum, 2 runs, he likes that shot, short ball and he leaps to crack that wide of deep cover for a couple of runs
Morkel to McCullum, no run, reaches forward, trying to get to the pitch, and defends it towards cover
Morkel to McCullum, no run, Morkel delivers a bouncer, dug in short and McCullum gets out of the way quickly, was late to spot it

A superb fightback from these two, They should bat through to stumps today, that should set up a fascinating fifth day's play, provided the rain stays away. South Africa were on top after seeing off the openers but haven't quite maintained the intensity, the attacking approach of these two batsmen putting the visitors on the back foot.

39 | 5 Runs | NZ: 130/2

  • Ross Taylor47 (66b)
  • Brendon McCullum52 (81b)
  • Vernon Philander11-2-27-1
  • Morne Morkel8-2-28-0
Philander to Taylor, no run, pushes it back confidently to the bowler
Philander to Taylor, FOUR runs, edged and four, flirting with that teasing delivery from Philander, short of a good length, moving away and Taylor didn't go at it hard, but it was a healthy edge down to the third-man boundary
Philander to Taylor, no run, short of a good length on the off, defended in front of the bowler
Philander to Taylor, no run, bowled at 132kmph towards middle, Taylor offers the full face when playing it back
Philander to McCullum, 1 run, targeting the stumps thi sitme, middle and off, gets across and closes the face to play it behind square
Philander to McCullum, no run, good length on the off, gets forward and pushes it towards cover

38 | 1 Run | NZ: 125/2

  • Ross Taylor43 (62b)
  • Brendon McCullum51 (79b)
  • Morne Morkel8-2-28-0
  • Vernon Philander10-2-22-1
Morkel to Taylor, no run, good carry through to the keeper, Taylor watches and admires
Morkel to Taylor, no run, banged in short outside off, Taylor's not going for those at this stage with stumps just a few overs away
Morkel to Taylor, no run, shortish on the off, defended off the back foot towards Amla at cover
Morkel to Taylor, no run, short of a good length in the channel outside off, Taylor watches it through to the keeper
Morkel to Taylor, 1 wide, called a wide this time, Morkel goes even wider as Taylor leaves it alone
Morkel to Taylor, no run, short of a good length outside off, a touch too wide, Taylor isn't bothered going after it
Morkel to Taylor, no run, banged in short outside off, Taylor let that one go through

Morne Morkel is back into the attack

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    New Zealand needed 264 runs with eight wickets in hand on the final day, setting the match up for a photo finish. It ended up a damp squib, something both captains were disappointed by, with Smith the one who clearly expected more

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New Zealand 4th innings Partnerships

1st16RJ NicolMJ Guptill
2nd39BB McCullumRJ Nicol
3rd82BB McCullumLRPL Taylor