Live Commentary: New Zealand vs. England - First Test, day one - as it happened

Alastair Cook
© PA Photos
Sports Mole brings you live text coverage of day one of the first Test match between New Zealand and England in Dunedin.

The first Test match between New Zealand and England was scheduled to start in Dunedin on Wednesday.

However, after New Zealand won the toss and elected to field, play was delayed due to bad light, before rain washed out the day's play.

As the rain came down in New Zealand, it was revealed that England bowler Graeme Swann would miss the series after it was decided that he required surgery to try to fix a troublesome elbow injury.

Read below to see how a day of frustration unfolded for both sides.


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9.02pmHello, and welcome to Sports Mole's coverage of day one of the first Test match between New Zealand and England in Dunedin.

9.04pmNEW ZEALAND WIN THE TOSS AND ELECT TO FIELD

9.08pmNew Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum has won the toss and he has elected to bowl first. After he called correctly, the wicket-keeper revealed that the cloudy conditions had played a big part in his decision.

9.12pmAfter losing the toss, England captain Alastair Cook insisted that he wasn't too disappointed to be put into bat. The opening batsman told the host broadcaster: "The overhead conditions will play their part, but it looks a good pitch and hopefully we can make the most of it."

9.15pmThe big news from England's dressing room is that spin bowler Graeme Swann has been ruled out with an elbow injury. He has been replaced by Monty Panesar. Regarding New Zealand, Bruce Martin makes his Test debut. Full team news to follow...

9.18pmNEW ZEALAND XI: Fulton, Rutherford, Williamson, Taylor, Brownlie, McCullum, Watling, Southee, Martin, Wagner, Boult

9.21pmENGLAND XI: Cook, Compton, Trott, Pietersen, Bell, Root, Prior, Broad, Finn, Anderson, Panesar

9.24pmWe are less than 10 minutes away from the first ball in Dunedin. England are huge favourites for the series but with the ball expected to swing during the opening session, they could be put under pressure by the hosts.

9.26pmThe weather forecast suggests that it would come as no surprise if we were to get some rain during the first hour, but it is expected that the game will progress with no interruptions throughout the rest of the day.


9.32pmJust after I mention the possibility of a delay, we have been provided with one. It is the light that is the issue in Dunedin right now. The umpires are out in the middle monitoring the situation, which indicates that they could be confident that we can commence the series pretty soon.

9.37pmUmpire Paul Reiffel has just provided the host broadcaster with an update to the situation. "At the toss, the decision was pretty marginal," Reiffel says. "But since then, the light has really dropped, and it is unsafe for play at the moment."

9.40pmWhile we wait for proceedings to get underway, we can look back at England's success in the Twenty20 and 50-over form of the game since they arrived in New Zealand last month.

9.45pmEngland began the tour with a 2-1 victory in the three-match Twenty20 series. After winning the first game, New Zealand hit back with a 55-run win to level the series. However, a dominant performance from Michael Lumb and Alex Hales earned England a 10-wicket triumph in the decider.

9.51pmIt was a similar story in the 50-over game, as England snatched series success in the decider. New Zealand opened up with a three-wicket win, before England fought back and showed their class with eight-wicket and five-wicket triumphs respectively.

9.52pmIt isn't looking good for any play in the foreseeable future. The rain has started to come down in Dunedin.

10.00pmEarlier in the hour, it was announced that Graeme Swann would miss this Test match with an elbow injury, a problem that Swann is concerned about ahead of the Ashes this summer. Swann told The Sun: "I'll be honest, the elbow is always a concern. It's been hanging over me for several years and, despite having an operation in 2009, the problem hasn't entirely gone away."

10.03pmWe are being shown more pictures of conditions in Dunedin, and the rain seems to have gotten harder.

10.09pmGoing back to Swann, here are some more comments from the 33-year-old. "It would be a massive pain in the backside if my wonky elbow forced me to miss any of the Tests against Australia," Swann says. "I'm absolutely determined to be available for what might be my final two Ashes series - and that means managing the elbow as well as possible."

10.14pmShould Swann be ruled out of the series, England will feel that they have an adequate replacement in Panesar for three matches against New Zealand, but it would be a huge blow to their Ashes plans if Swann was to be ruled out over the Test matches with Australia.

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10.20pmAnother player who has been struggling with an injury is Stuart Broad. The fast bowler has been suffering with an ongoing Achilles problem, but he has been given the nod over Graeme Onions for today's game. Broad's recent form hadn't been the best before he arrived in New Zealand, but he recorded some impressive figures during the limited-overs games.

10.25pmMore images from New Zealand, and it's as you were. Plenty of umbrella's can be seen scattered around the University Oval, and dare I say it, it looks windy too. That could help move the rain through a bit faster though...

10.30pmIt isn't just England that have had their injury worries ahead of the start of this series. New Zealand fast bowler Doug Bracewell cut his foot on a piece of glass while cleaning up after a party at his home. You can read the full story here.

10.38pmIt is almost five years to the day since England last toured New Zealand, when they came away with a 2-1 win. The hosts dominated the opening Test, but England hit back with comprehensive wins of their own.

10.41pmSome breaking news for you. Graeme Swann has been ruled out of the series with the elbow injury that had originally kept him out of this Test match.

10.45pmMore details on the Swann injury. He has been told that he requires an operation on his troublesome elbow, and he will fly out to America in the next couple of days. James Tredwell has been drafted in as his replacement.

10.51pmThe news about Swann is a blow to England, but from Monty Panesar's perspective, he has been handed a huge opportunity to further impress England's selectors. He played a hugely important part for England in India, but it remains to be seen whether he can replicate that on a less-responsive pitch in New Zealand.

10.54pmThere is still no change out in the middle in Dunedin. It would come as no surprise if the umpires called an early lunch in the near future.

11.03pmEngland's Nick Compton will partner Alastair Cook when play finally gets underway in Dunedin. There was much debate as to whether Compton would retain his place in the England side, but he has received the full backing of his skipper. You can read the full story here.

11.12pmIt has been some time since we received any update from the umpires in New Zealand. They say no news is good news, but I don't think so on this occasion...

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11.23pmWell I'm afraid it isn't good news from Dunedin. It sounds as if we are at least a couple of hours away from any live action, after the groundsman reportedly said that it will take two hours for the outfield to dry after the rain has stopped.

11.31pmI am going to take this opportunity to prepare the coffees to keep me going until the end of the day's play. You should probably do the same! We will be back with you when we have an update from Dunedin.

12.09amWe are back after the scheduled lunch break, and I was hoping to bring you all some better news from Dunedin. However, while is it getting brighter in New Zealand, we still have some rain hanging about.

12.13amThis is very frustrating for all concerned, but the general consensus is that once we get started, the weather will be fine for the rest of the day.

12.19pmIf you missed the earlier news about Graeme Swann, you can catch up with the story here.

12.26amGiven the gloomy conditions, it remains to be seen whether we will see Bruce Martin bowl a few overs on debut, but here are a few bits of info on the 32-year-old. He is averaging just under 36 at first-class level with 314 wickets in 115 matches. He seems pretty useful with the bat too, recording two hundreds during his career.

12.32am@Aggerscricket has just posted the following tweet: "Go to bed I reckon… still raining." Doesn't sound very promising...

12.34amWe still await further official news from Dunedin, but if the groundsman's earlier prediction of it will take two hours for the outfield to dry after it has stopped raining is proven right, we could still be in for a quite a wait.

12.43amI have another tweet for you, but I'm afraid that it doesn't provide much optimism for any play. @selvecricket, who is reporting in New Zealand for the Guardian, has tweeted: "The good news is it is brighter. The bad news is that it is raining harder."

12.45amGoing by the logic that the longer it rains, the longer it will take for the outfield to recover, then I would say that a complete washout for the day is becoming more and more likely.

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12.54amIf play does get abandoned for the day, then the decision from Brendon McCullum to bat first could backfire. An earlier weather forecast suggested sun for the next two days, and with a decent pitch expected at the University Oval, England could benefit from the heavens opening today.

1.06amThe latest pictures from Dunedin show a few people under umbrella's. It does look a little bit brighter, and the rain has definitely subsided a little, but it is still touch-and-go as to whether we will get any play.

1.13amTo give you an idea of where we should be in the day, we should be approaching drinks midway through the afternoon session. Tea was due to be taken in an hours time. There is no chance of play occurring before then, so I would expect some kind of announcement from the umpires very soon.

1.16amAnother thing on the umpires; Who knew that former Australia fast bowler Paul Reiffel had become an umpire? I certainly didn't.

1.31amI think I was wrong when I said that the umpires would give us an update soon. On the positive side, at least we should get more play tomorrow.

1.41amNew Zealand and England are not the only Test nations competing this week. India comprehensively secured a 2-0 series lead over Australia earlier today by winning the second Test match by an innings and 135 runs.

1.44amIt will be interesting to see how Australia respond from a second heavy loss to India, but they seemingly need to improve vastly if they are to remain competitive with England in the summer.

1.52amThe ECB have just posted a tweet on their official Twitter account that a decision on whether we will get any play today will be made at tea, which is in around 20 minutes time.

2.08amWell, the umpires should be making their decision around about now. You would think that the sensible option would be to call it a day, given that no guarantees can be provided that the outfield will be playable, even if it gets a couple of hours to dry out.

2.21amWe are halfway through the scheduled tea interval and we still have no news. Don't the umpires consider that everyone in England is waiting for them to speak up!


2.31amMore news from the ECB's official Twitter account: "Awaiting a further update in Dunedin, but it is still raining so there seems to be little chance of any play today #NZvEng".

2.39amIt now appears that there will be an inspection in the next 30 minutes...

3.00am@Aggerscricket is back on the scene and he has just tweeted that there will be another inspection in 15 minutes. Hopefully by then, we will have a decision either way.

3.17amWe are still waiting for an official announcement, but it appears as though play has been abandoned for the day.

3.19amIt is now official. Play has been abandoned for the day, and we will return tomorrow half an hour earlier than originally planned.

3.21amOn that note, I will bid you all farewell, and see you tomorrow night for the beginning of day two. Night all!

Alastair Cook
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