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Summer of cricket set for damp finish

Umpires Rod Tucker and Bruce Oxenford inspect the Seddon Park pitch during a rain stoppage. Photo / Getty
Umpires Rod Tucker and Bruce Oxenford inspect the Seddon Park pitch during a rain stoppage. Photo / Getty

Hamilton's forecast for the next four days suggests most of the third New Zealand-South Africa test will be rained out.

The summer of cricket looks set to end on a damp and unsatisfactory note.

The sides could resort to sporting declarations to manufacture a result, but the current scenario suggests that might involve forfeiting an innings. The simpler and pessimistic alternative is to banish this fraud of a summer once and for all.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) suggests light rain will fall until 3pm tomorrow, before settling in across the playing times on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. With little wind to blow away the moisture, the chances of completing the series with any meaningful cricket are minimal.

Given rain ruined the final day of a perfectly-poised Dunedin test, and New Zealand capitulated at Wellington to end the second match inside three days, the season's premier test series threatens to leave local fans feeling hollow.

Tonight New Zealand's Matt Henry (two wickets for 25 from 10 overs) and South Africa's Hashim Amla (50 from 93 balls) fronted media to discuss how they saw the game playing out with the visitors 123 for four.

Both suggested it was too early to change team strategies to reflect a truncated game.

"We can't look too far ahead so early in the piece," Henry said. "The weather can change, so we need to ensure we're putting the ball in the right areas to put ourselves in the best position.

"It's frustrating, but we did well to get them four down. We would have liked another hour at them [once it fined up later]. We had some assistance seaming off the wicket. It was a bit on the slower side back of a length, but a full length skidded on nicely.

"It was a tough one to gauge... and we weren't expecting to win the toss," he quipped in relation to the visitors winning every toss in the last eight internationals (five ODIs and three tests)."

A total of 49 overs were lost but Amla optimistically - unless he was unaware of the forecast - believed time could be made up. He said the intention was still to bat big on the first innings to set the game up, rather than make a premature declaration.

"With the weather around I don't know if it [the pitch] will get any quicker. You generally need sunshine and heat for wickets to speed up. If it remains sporting for bowlers it usually provides good test cricket."

- NZ Herald

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