Dylan Cleaver: Dunedin not fit to stage a test

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At Brisbane, it rained so hard the Gabba was reduced to a lake. The next morning, play started on time at 10am.

Yesterday, despite there being nary a spittle of rain since the previous evening, a ball was not delivered until 2.45pm.

That borders on farcical.

Until such time as the Otago Cricket Association or New Zealand Cricket invests in a decent drainage system and super-soppers, the University Oval should not host another test.

Bad weather is one thing, bad resources quite another.

Mind you, it was always a bold venture, scheduling a test in the southern city in December.

There has been a lot rain around the city this week, but there is nothing you can do about that.

However, there is no excuse for not playing when the weather is fine (well, fine by Dunedin standards).

The University Oval has a certain old-world charm to it but that charm can only take you so far.

Yesterday it exposed itself as a ground hopelessly ill-prepared to host test cricket.

It is basically a club ground, though no self-respecting club cricketer would have an issue playing with no more than the odd puddle on the outfield.

Most of the concern centred on a squelchy patch of turf at about mid-off at the southern end of the ground. The umpires spent an inordinate amount of time standing nearby, growing beards and speaking in hushed tones about player safety blah, blah, blah.

Meanwhile bewildered spectators huddled under blankets in between trips to the pie-cart.

If they had been here at 9am they would have seen a helicopter levitating over the wettest areas.

That would have remained the ideal scenario to get things dried out quickly, but after an hour and 20 minutes the pilot headed off to fulfil a spraying contract.

Instead groundstaff spent the next four hours with what appeared to be large hairdryers, before dumping a load of kitty litter on the offending area.

They then had to clean up the litter following complaints from the West indian bowlers, causing another interminable delay.

It was almost laughable.


- Herald on Sunday

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