NZ test delayed by bad weather

Bad light and heavy rain delayed the start of play in the first test between New Zealand and England.

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum had won the toss in overcast conditions and gloomy light and sent England in but umpires took a reading before play and delayed the start. Picture: AFP

DUNEDIN, New Zealand - Bad light and then heavy rain delayed the start of play in the first test between New Zealand and England after home captain Brendon McCullum won the toss and chose to bowl at University Oval on Wednesday.

McCullum had won the toss in overcast conditions and gloomy light and sent England in but umpires Asad Rauf and Paul Reiffel took a reading before play was due to start at 2130 GMT and delayed the start.

Strong southerly winds then brought driving rain over the ground with spectators scrambling for cover or seeking shelter outside the small ground.

Intermittent showers and heavy rain are forecast for at least the first three days of the match.

Left-arm spinner Bruce Martin will make his New Zealand debut at the age of 32 after McCullum opted to go with just three front line pace bowlers. Ian Butler, who had been brought in for the injured Doug Bracewell, is the 12th man.

Opening batsman Hamish Rutherford will make his debut and join Peter Fulton at the top of the order.

England opening batsman Nick Compton, under pressure to hold on to his position according to media reports with the possibility of Joe Root joining Alastair Cook, was selected. Root will also play but is likely to bat at six.

Left-arm spinner Monty Panesar has also been brought in for offspinner Graeme Swann, who has a long standing elbow injury that flared up in Queenstown in a four-day match against the New Zealand XI.

New Zealand: Brendon McCullum (captain), Peter Fulton, Hamish Rutherford, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Dean Brownlie, BJ Watling, Bruce Martin, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult.

England: Alastair Cook (captain), Nick Compton, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Joe Root, Matt Prior, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, James Anderson, Monty Panesar.