No play all day in Dunedin

New Zealand England

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England were kept waiting for their first taste of Test action in 2013 as bad light and subsequent rain prevented any play on day one of the series-opener with New Zealand.

The toss took place as scheduled, with Brendon McCullum unsurprisingly opting to insert the tourists due to heavy cloud cover at Dunedin's picturesque University Oval ground.

However, conditions soon worsened and persistent showers ensured the teams were unable to take to the field, with play officially called off shortly after tea.

Two debutants - opener Hamish Rutherford and left-arm spinner Bruce Martin - were named in New Zealand’s line-up while England called on Monty Panesar to replace the injured Graeme Swann, who was duly ruled out of the entire series due to his troublesome right elbow.

Having avoided the prospect of beginning their innings in potentially awkward circumstances given the overhead gloom, England will hope to capitalise on an improved second-day forecast.

Play is scheduled to commence half an hour early at 9pm GMT for the remainder of the Test.

Live Text Commentary

3:17am - PLAY ABANDONED - After that brief period of encouragement, the day has sadly been declared a washout. The silver lining - as far as England are concerned at least - is provided by tomorrow’s forecast, which is much more encouraging and should make batting a little easier than it would have been had the players made it out this morning. We’ll be starting half an hour earlier for the remainder of the game, at 9pm GMT.

3:01am - We will have another inspection in 15 minutes...

Paul Reiffel

2:39am - Well, well, well ... maybe we should not give up hope just yet. There will be an inspection in around half an hour’s time. Could we sneak a few overs in tonight?

1:49am - I am led to believe that a decision on whether any play could be possible today is set to be made at tea. Given that it is still raining, I fear I can guess the outcome.

1:35am - Top marks to anyone in the UK who has stayed up until now in the hope of catching some belated action. I just hope you are rewarded, although that is appearing increasingly unlikely.

1:10am - It is a wee bit brighter than it has been, but the rain will need to stop soon if we are to get some play today.

12:38am - This rain may not be the worst thing for England, although it obviously increases the likelihood of a draw. The conditions did not look good for batting this morning, but the sun could be out by the time the tourists begin their innings. Cook actually said at the toss that he would have batted anyway; I wonder when he will get the chance?

12:15am - What’s the best way to pass the time in situations like this? We’ve already had a few interesting suggestions via Twitter. Our handle is @ECB_cricket if you would like to send over your own ideas.

11:44pm - I hate to be the bearer of persistently miserable news, but we have yet to see any improvement in the weather. Prospects of play are receding, although hopefully the teams can make it out at some stage today.

University Oval, Dunedin rain

11:14pm - We are going to be waiting a while yet for some action in Dunedin. The groundsman has warned that it will take around two hours to get the playing surface ready once it stops raining. If it stops raining, that is...

10:40pm - Breaking news from the England camp. Graeme Swann has been ruled out of the entire series and is to fly to the United States for surgery on his troublesome elbow. James Tredwell will replace him in the Test squad.

10:33pm - We are still waiting for play to begin I’m afraid. I was only anticipating a short delay, but at this rate an early lunch may well be taken.

10:20pm - While we wait for the rain to relent, let’s assess the attack that will be looking to knock over Cook and Co. Neil Wagner bowled well in last week’s warm-up game in Queenstown, but has yet to make much of an impact in the Test arena. Another left-armer, Trent Boult, has enjoyed more success thus far with 30 wickets in 10 appearances, while England know all about Tim Southee after the seamer burst on to the scene the last time these teams met in New Zealand. Then there is Martin, who is making his five-day bow at the ripe old age of 32. Can he fill the gaping hole left by Daniel Vettori’s injury-enforced absence?

10:01pm - New Zealand’s players will wear black armbands today as a mark of respect for former Test cricketer Sammy Guillen, who sadly passed away last weekend at the age of 88. The wicketkeeper-batsman represented his native West Indies and New Zealand in the premier form of the game between 1951 and 1956.

Dunedin groundstaff

9:53pm - And now it has started to rain. Boo!

9:45pm - Well this is all very frustrating. The players have yet to emerge, with dark clouds continuing to linger over the pitch.

9:30pm - START DELAYED BY BAD LIGHT - There are concerns over the light at present. It is rather gloomy, so there will be a delay to the start. Hopefully we’ll be under way shortly.

9:21pm - While much of the talk at present surrounds Swann’s absence, it is important the tourists focus on making a solid start. Openers Alastair Cook and Nick Compton are likely to face a stiff challenge in conditions that will encourage New Zealand’s seamers. In recent years England have not begun away Test series particularly well, even ones that went on to prove successful. Let’s hope that changes this week.

9:12pm - Here are the two teams in full:

New Zealand: Peter Fulton, Hamish Rutherford, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum (captain), Dean Brownlie, BJ Watling (wicketkeeper), Tim Southee, Bruce Martin, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult.

England: Alastair Cook (captain), Nick Compton, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Joe Root, Matt Prior (wicketkeeper), Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, James Anderson, Monty Panesar.

Monty Panesar

9:03pm - NEW ZEALAND WIN THE TOSS AND BOWL - Brendon McCullum has no hesitation in sending England in after winning the toss, which is no surprise given the clouds around in Dunedin at the moment. The main team news concerns Graeme Swann, who has been unable to shake off an elbow injury and misses out. Monty Panesar therefore plays, with Stuart Broad back as the third seamer. New Zealand hand debuts to Hamish Rutherford and left-arm spinner Bruce Martin.

8:50pm - We do not have long to wait until the teams are announced. New Zealand have been shorn of seam-bowling all-rounder Doug Bracewell, who injured himself in somewhat bizarre circumstances over the weekend. Talk about putting your foot in it...

8:40pm - Dunedin's picturesque University Oval ground is the venue for this opening contest of three. Those of you in the UK considering when to go to sleep this evening may find the following information useful. The toss will take place in around 20 minutes and play is scheduled to run from 9:30pm GMT until 4:30am, although there is room for an extra half-hour if 90 overs have not been completed. If you're planning on staying up for the entire day's play, now may be the time to make sure you're stocked up on coffee.

8:30pm - Hello and welcome to ecb.co.uk's live text coverage of the first Test between New Zealand and England. The tourists have already secured victories in the Twenty20 and one-day international formats; they now face the challenge of completing a clean sweep.

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