Veteran Kiwi cricket commentator Bryan Waddle has questioned South Africa's desire to take the field in the weather-wrecked test in Durban.

And Waddle, who has covered the game for radio all over the world, said test cricket's image has been hammered this week.

The test between the West Indies and India at Port of Spain has turned into a farce, with just one session of play taking place due to ground conditions.

Meanwhile, there was no play on day three and four at Kingsmead, where South Africa and New Zealand are headed for a lifeless draw.


Waddle said test cricket needed to be more desperate about taking the field, especially as it tried to hold its ground against one dayers and T20.

"It's pretty hard to understand - we've had two good fine days, hot sunny conditions two days ago, and today was very windy so good drying conditions," he told Radio Sport's Martin Devlin from Durban.

"I don't think it is overly dangerous...the locals say they could have played by tea on day three (but) the umpires have taken a different assessment.

"New Zealand don't seem to too perturbed by it because it doesn't affect them at the moment as the batting team. South Africa don't seem too keen to play although we did hear word that they are so you don't know what to believe.

"Test cricket still has to have a desire for people to want to play it. If they don't, you are going to lose the public perception of it being a game worth watching. Sometimes you have to accept the conditions are not going to be 100 per cent."

Waddle said safety was paramount, but soft outfield patches could have been tested out.

Waddle, who has covered more than 200 tests, said: "It becomes a marginal situation - they could at least have tried and if they found it not good enough, then call it off. It's not a concern for the bowlers.

"New Zealand was not happy with the ground on day one but they accepted it, fielded on it, adjusted, did all they had to do. I don't think it is any worse now than it was then.

"You get the feeling someone somewhere doesn't want them playing test cricket in winter at this venue."

The Kingsmead groundstaff were ordered to quit artificial drying means that might further damage the surface. ESPN's CricInfo claimed: "To an observer, it would seem little effort was being made to make conditions suitable for play."

The ground has been re-surfaced, and ESPN also suggested not enough effort was made to protect it from unseasonal rain.

The Trinidad test - the first in August which is in the rainy season - involved just 22 overs. It is the third-shortest non-abandoned test in history.