Rain forces players off in third NZ-S.Africa test

New Zealand had reduced South Africa to 71 for three at lunch, which was taken five minutes early when a rain shower swept across the ground.

Rain forced the players from the field midway during the third test between New Zealand and South Africa. Picture: @OfficialCSA

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa were 123 for four in the third test against New Zealand at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Saturday before rain forced the players from the field midway through the afternoon session of the first day's play.

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis, who won the toss and chose to bat after overnight rain delayed the start of play by 30 minutes, was on 33 and Temba Bavuma on 13 after the hosts had dismissed Hashim Amla for 50 after lunch.

New Zealand had reduced South Africa to 71 for three at lunch, which was taken five minutes early when a rain shower swept across the ground.

Matt Henry, who was brought back for the injured Tim Southee, dismissed debutant opener Theunis du Bruyn for a duck and had JP Duminy caught in the deep about 20 minutes before lunch.

Colin de Grandhomme had the first session's other wicket when he bowled Dean Elgar for five as the hosts, who were also without Trent Boult, reduced the Proteas to 5-2 in the fourth over.

Amla and JP Duminy had rebuilt South Africa's innings after their awful start with a 59-run partnership before Duminy top-edged a short delivery from Henry to be caught by Jeetan Patel at fine leg for 20.

Rain is forecast for the Hamilton area throughout the test, which New Zealand must win to level the series after South Africa won the second game in Wellington by eight wickets.

The first test in Dunedin ended in a draw with the entire final day washed out.