|Rain halts NZ-England contest opening day
The first day of the opening test between New Zealand and England was abandoned due to rain without a ball being bowled today, as offspinner Graeme Swann flies to the United States for surgery.
New Zealand won the toss and chose to bowl in heavily overcast conditions before umpires Paul Reiffel of Australia and Asad Rauf of Pakistan ruled that the light was not sufficient to allow play to begin on time, AP reports.
Heavy rain then began to fall at the University Oval, forcing ground staff to fully cover the pitch and surrounds. The rain continued throughout the day, preventing play in the first two sessions and causing the umpires to abandon the day just 75 minutes before scheduled stumps.
Playing hours will be extended on the remaining days to make up for lost time and only 30 overs are likely to be lost if a full days' play is possible on each of the next four days.
Earlier, Swann was ruled out of the three-test series in New Zealand with an elbow injury with the England team saying he will immediately fly to the United States for surgery. Monty Panesar was named in his place.
New Zealand named opening batsman Hamish Rutherford, son of former captain Ken Rutherford, and left-arm spinner Bruce Martin to make their test debuts Wednesday.
The 32-year-old Martin was first named in a New Zealand test squad in 1999 but did not play and has had to wait a further 14 years for his test debut.