Live text commentary from day five of the second Test as the match ended in a draw due to heavy rain in Wellington.
By Matt Domm, Reporter Filed: Sunday, March 17, 2013 at 21:01 UK
Last Updated: Monday, March 18, 2013 at 01:42 UK
No play was possible on the final day of the second Test between New Zealand and England, with the Wellington match going down as a draw.
The players did not even arrive at the ground until lunchtime, with heavy rain throughout the morning, and although it subsided slightly the pitch was deemed unplayable.
It means that the final Test that starts next week in Auckland will decide the series, as it is currently level at 0-0.
Read below how a frustrating day of waiting unfolded.
9.05pmHello everyone and welcome back to our coverage. It's day five and we're still pretty much only just into the second innings. New Zealand ended yesterday - well, if you can call 35 overs a day - on 162-2.
9.10pmIt already looks as though there will be another day of weather-watching. Only today is even worse than yesterday. There's definitely no chance of play starting at the scheduled time in 20 minutes. That's about all that is certain for now.
9.15pmThe current official information from New Zealand Cricket is that no play is likely in the morning session. Here's what they said on Twitter: "Sorry team - play is unlikely in 2nd ANZ Test this morning due to persistent rain."
9.20pmThey will provide another update at midday - which, to us in the UK, is 11pm. That update won't be them calling the day a washout, however, as that decision "won't be made until late afternoon". I really don't know why they have to leave it that long, presumably so that they don't have to give people their money back too quickly..
9.24pmThe only action out in the middle is the wallowing of a duck. That says just about all that needs to be said about the prospects of play today. I'll sum up what's happened so far and try to throw in some stats and tweets to keep things interesting.
9.28pmAs of about an hour ago, the England team were not even at the ground. I've not heard any more on that, but I can only assume they have no shown up. If there is any play at all today I would be very surprised indeed.
9.32pmIf it does indeed get abandoned the match will be a draw, which will mean that the final Test in Auckland, starting on March 22 - March 21 here - will be a sudden death shootout for the series.
9.37pmObviously, it's an intricate business deciding when to call off a whole day of a Test match. They can't just go by the forecasts, as they can change. I suppose the benchmark will be day one of the first Test, where play was finally abandoned at about 3am.
9.42pmThe only session with any action yesterday was the morning. The weather was actually sunny and it gave false hope of a full day's action. During the session New Zealand scored slowly and put on 76 runs to reach 153-2.
9.48pmThe slow progress was because they were looking to salvage a draw after being made to follow-on by Alastair Cook. They started yesterday still 124 runs short of England's first-innings total. As it stands, they require another 49 to put England in again.
9.55pmThere's been absolutely zero let-up in the rain so far. Play before lunch I'd say is nigh-on impossible. Play today? Well, I'd put that as pretty slim, too, but as I've already said they'll be waiting until the last possible moment to make a final ruling.
10.03pmThe chances of a result in this Test are reducing with every minute that goes by. It's lashing down still. I don't know whether they expect it to stop, but they'll wait and wait until it's clear there'll be no play. Or until there will be, optimistically..
10.08pmThis weather would even be considered bad if it was being played in England. At the end of today it will be almost three full days from five completely rained off. It does beg the question why this series wasn't held earlier in the New Zealand summer, when there is less chance of rain. That matters very little right now, though.
10.16pmAround the world there is actually cricket going on, believe it or not. The first place is India, where Australia reached stumps on day four at 75-3 in their second innings, currently 16 runs behind following India's 499 and their own 408.
10.24pmElsewhere, but not too far elsewhere, Bangladesh are in Sri Lanka. The visitors were bowled out for 240 in their first innings and in response Sri Lanka have reached stumps on day two at 2934-6. Kumar Sangakkara is still there on 127 and is looking very strong indeed.
10.31pmI don't suppose either of those Tests will be troubled by the rain that has affected both in New Zealand so far. I believe there's hope that we'll have at least some cricket today, but still no further official word than I gave earlier.
10.37pmAccording to Jonathan Agnew on Twitter, the chance of any play today is "zero". He tends not to overstate things, so I'm staying very much pessimistic about any play at all.
10.42pmHowever, there doesn't seem to be a lot of sense elsewhere in the cricket world. We'll wait and wait. I'm not sure what for exactly, but New Zealand Cricket seem sure that no decision on any abandonment will be made before the late afternoon. Which will be the early hours in the UK, most likely around 3am.
10.48pmI wouldn't know what to think had I paid to watch some cricket today. I know I wouldn't hang around most of the day just to hear the inevitable abandonment. I don't know exactly what the rules are regarding getting money back for tickets in New Zealand, but I would assume there's a minimum amount of overs that if they get bowled no-one gets a refund.
10.55pmIt would seem that Kiwis have a similar sarcastic sense of humour to we Brits. The big screen at the ironically-named Basin Reserve says: Drought? Schedule a cricket Test". I think it's safe to say the driest summer for 60-odd years is over..
11amSay it quietly, but there are rumours that the rain is dying down a little and that the clouds have lifted slightly. That's a long way from being ready for cricket, of course, but there's at least a bit of promise.
11.06pmWe're about five minutes after the expected update from NZC, but I'm yet to hear anything further. I'll obviously bring it right to you once I do get word of an announcement.
11.12pmIt looks actually like the rain has stopped in Wellington. Obviously it's still wet on the ground, but if the rain stays away for long enough there might be some cricket. Incredible. I was here yesterday with the on-off covers show, though, so I won't hold my breath just yet.
11.19pmI'm hearing that the players still haven't shown up at the ground. If that's the case, then there's little reason to be too optimistic about the current break in the rain. After all, there's still plenty more forecast in and around the Wellington area.
11.25pmNew Zealand Cricket still haven't officially updated us, but we would be approaching lunch ordinarily here, so I would expect to hear something pretty soon, particularly if the rain stays away.
11.33pmThe latest I'm hearing is that a decision on play will be made at mid-afternoon. I suppose that would mean between 2-4pm, which in UK terms would be 1-3am.
11.38pmThere's a little bit of activity out in the middle. Some expections, some attempts to clear a bit of the surface water. The rain still hasn't started up again, though, so there's still a chance of some play.
11.46pmSo, assuming the decision will be made between 1am and 3am, there's still quite a bit of waiting to do. I'm going to take a short break, but will be back if there's any further developments.
12.02amThe news is that the players have turned up at the ground finally. Lunch has been taken - of course, that busy morning session at the hotel must have taken it out of them. It's still not raining but the covers haven't yet come off. The official line is that they still plan to leave it as long as possible to see if any play can be, well, played.
12.08amThe skies are looking a bit brighter in the surrounding area, too. It does all depend on how wet the middle is and how effective the drainage. England will certainly be more keen to get out there than New Zealand, as they still hold - albeit a very slim one - a chance of winning this Test.
12.16amIt seems Jonathan Agnew has spotted a couple of lesser-spotted umpires. "First sighting of the umpires… they’re inspecting… very light drizzle falling". The rain has started to come back too, then. Bitter-sweet, that tweet.
12.28amThe umpires have had their inspection and have said that there are "areas of concern", so it has proved inconclusive. They will inspect again when it has stopped raining - that one was conducted in drizzle. They might be doing a pitch inspection on day seven at this rate.
12.34amIf there is indeed any play today, England will have only a few overs to bowl at New Zealand. For there to be a result, they'll need to take eight wickets in the space of 48 runs. Not impossible, of course, but it makes you wonder why they're so keen to desperately cling on to the hope of an improvement in the weather.
12.40amIt's eminently possible that there might be play in India and Sri Lanka before we see any in New Zealand. The Tests between India and Australia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will get back underway at around 3.30am. A reminder: Australia resume 16 behind India on 75-3 in their second innings, while Sri Lanka are 54 ahead with four wickets intact.
12.50amThe rain is still coming down, although not too heavily. Hope still remains in Wellington of some play, however short, at some point. Probably not very soon, but the mid-afternoon decision hasn't come around yet.
12.56amStill waiting to hear anything official from NZC. Their last update was the morning, where they said a decision on abandonment wouldn't be made until late afternoon. Since then, it's been unofficially put forward to somewhere between 1-3am. However, it's barely stopped raining.
1.01amThere might be an update soon. That's not a promise, you understand. I can't see how any update will be anything other than "still raining, still waiting", though.