New Zealand vs Australia: Black Caps still in lead following Napier ODI washout

Napier: An unsafe outfield forced the abandonment of the second one-day international between New Zealand and Australia without a ball being bowled on Thursday.

Rain during the morning had left the McLean Park outfield sodden and play was delayed by almost five hours before the game was officially called off at 06:45 pm (0445 GMT).

New Zealand hold a 1-0 lead after winning the first game in Auckland. AFP

New Zealand hold a 1-0 lead after winning the first game in Auckland. AFP

The decision was met with resigned frustration from the large crowd, who had sat patiently for hours hoping to see some action, particularly since the rain had actually stopped about 15 minutes before the scheduled start of play at 02:00 pm.

Ground staff had removed the covers from the square about an hour later and begun preparing the surface while the players started warming up with a 37-over game scheduled to begin at 02:45 pm.

However, the warm-ups caused water to seep to the surface, with Australia captain Aaron Finch unearthing a large divot with minimal effort, forcing umpires Kumar Dharmasena and Chris Brown to deem conditions still unsuitable for play.

"I thought when we turned up, it was obviously a bit soggy and a bit wet, but I thought we'd get a game in at some point," Finch told reporters.

"It felt like it improved... but once we started warming up it was pretty clear that there was quite a few soggy and damp patches that were a bit unsafe, and unfortunately over the next about three hours they just didn't improve at all."

Match officials made two further inspections throughout the afternoon and the large crowd became increasingly restless and broke into an ironic slow handclap with cries of "hurry up".

A final inspection was made at 06:30 pm and the decision to abandon the contest was confirmed 15 minutes later.

"The umpires are the sole judges of whether the ground is fit for play. But both players and management were fully supportive of the decision," New Zealand coach Mike Hesson said.

"We were given a start time which was a bit on the keen side because there was still casual water around the outfield.

"(But) annoyed, frustrated yeah that probably sums it up."

The third and final match of the series is at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Sunday. New Zealand hold a 1-0 lead after winning the first game in Auckland on Monday by six runs.

Updated Date: Feb 02, 2017 14:22 PM

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