Test almost called off due to poor pitch
The first Test between New Zealand and South Africa was in danger of being called off early during the afternoon of the final day on Sunday.india Updated: Mar 14, 2004 16:38 IST
The first test between New Zealand and South Africa was in danger of being called off early during the afternoon of the fifth and final day on Sunday.
The match ended in a draw, but play was held up for five minutes before tea when a couple of balls reared off a good length to South African left-handed batsman Gary Kirsten.
The umpires, Russell Tiffin of Zimbabwe and Australian Steve Davis called the match referee Clive Lloyd on to the field to discuss the dangerous aspects of the pitch at one end, where a football-sized crater had appeared during the match.
South Africa captain Graeme Smith said it was right that Lloyd came on to the arena to discuss the issue with the umpires.
"You've got to have a look at what is going on," Smith said. "This was Gary's 99th test match and he is playing his 100th in Auckland next week.
"If he gets one off the crater and it breaks his arm, he might never play his 100th test match. He is an integral part of our squad and the officials had to take those things into account."
As it was, the game continued and the problems of a rearing ball never affected Kirsten again. He was unbeaten on 34 when Smith declared South Africa's second innings closed at 313 for four, with Jacques Kallis not out 150.
New Zealand, chasing an impossible 264 to win, made 39 for one when play was called off 30 minutes before the scheduled close.