The gloomy weather has restricted the 1st Test to just 26 overs in the past two days © Getty Images
The gloomy weather has restricted the 1st Test to just 26 overs in the past two days © Getty Images

Only 17 balls were possible as rain washed out most of day three of the first Test between New Zealand and England in Auckland on Saturday. The players were forced from the field 10 minutes after the start, and with nearly five hours of showers, play was abandoned after the scheduled dinner break. In the brief period of play, Henry Nicholls reached his half century to be 52 not out with BJ Watling on 18 and New Zealand were 233 for 4, leading England by 175. Rain has restricted play to just 26 overs in the past two days but better weather is forecast for the remainder of the Test.

Kane Williamson’s New Zealand-record 18th Test century brightened an otherwise wet and gloomy day two as the hosts tightened their grip on the first Test against England. Williamson’s 102 provided a rare moment of cheer on a truncated day when play was restricted to 23.1 overs with only 54 runs scored. The skipper fell after guiding his side to a substantial first innings lead as New Zealand reached 229 for four, 171 runs ahead of England with six wickets in hand.

The milestone century, reached with a deft single through the gully off James Anderson, took Williamson one clear of the previous record of 17 he shared with Ross Taylor and the late Martin Crowe. He was still on 100 when the rain swept in for the first time but when play resumed an hour later, after a revised tea break, he added only two more before being trapped in front by Anderson. It never stopped long enough for the game to resume and play was called off four hours later.

Williamson had rebuilt the New Zealand innings from one for eight in their reply to England’s 58, to 206 for four when he was eventually dismissed.  He faced 220 deliveries and shared in partnerships of 84 with Tom Latham, 31 with Ross Taylor and 83 with Nicholls.

Brief Scores

England 58 all out (Craig Overton 33*; Trent Boult 6 for 32, Tim Southee 4 for 25) trail to New Zealand 233 for 4 (Kane Williamson 102, Henry Nicholls 52*; James Anderson 3 for 53) by 175 runs.