Cricket : Rain delays Test

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The Independent Online
Heavy overnight rain prevented any play before lunch in the second Test between England and New Zealand here this morning.

The outfield, underwater at dawn, was still sodden when play was scheduled to start at 10.30am and it did not take the umpires, Steve Bucknor and Doug Cowie, long to make their decision.

However, according to the groundsman, Warwick Sissons, it could have been worse. At one stage during the night, flood water, having apparently found its way under the covers, encroached to within a metre of the pitch.

With further rain falling, it meant a disappointing morning for the legions of England supporters gathered here for what is the pivotal match of this three-Test series.

But if brollies and sweaters reminded them of home, there was at least the consoling news that, despite the damp, Graham Thorpe's stiff neck had cleared up and the Surrey batsman was fit to play.