New Zealand coach Mike Hesson has no regrets about gambling on the Dunedin weather and emerging with a frustrating test draw.
The manner in which New Zealand went about their chase for 112, and their read on the forecast rain, provided the big talking point from a soggy University Oval on Saturday night.
With man of the match Ross Taylor and Corey Anderson looking comfortable at the crease, after a top-order collapse, the pair scored nine runs off the final five overs before light rain forced players from the field at 3.05pm. New Zealand were 79-4 and 33 runs short of their target, and that's the way it stayed.
The rain was always forecast, and rain radars showed the showers were imminent 20 minutes earlier. So why was no message sent out to the pair to launch and try to finish the test before the rain?
"We knew there were going to be showers; the fact that it started raining and the wind stopped was nothing that we were aware of. We always hoped that it would clear and forecast was that it would clear, and it didn't. I can't predict the rain," Hesson said.
New Zealand were in strife after poor shots from Hamish Rutherford and Brendon McCullum against West Indies spinner Shane Shillingford, and Hesson said that determined their safety-first policy.
"We were 44-4 so we're not in a position to dominate the game at that point. To get to tea at 79-4, we're in a strong position. We needed 20 minutes of cricket and we didn't get it."
The test ended in near farcical circumstances when the rain finally stopped and the covers were removed just after 6pm, with the prospect of a handful of overs before the 6.45pm cutoff. In their haste the ground staff folded the covers without draining the excess water and they became too heavy to be placed on the tractor and carried away.
Curator Tom Tamati, helped by about 15 ground and security staff, couldn't budge them so wandered over to umpires Paul Reiffel and Nigel Llong to call an end to proceedings. At the time Hesson looked highly unimpressed.
"We'll just focus on the things that we can control. When you play as well as that and you don't get a result, you're obviously disappointed," Hesson said.
- The Dominion Post
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