6 Mar 2013

No play on day one in Dunedin

4:36 pm on 6 March 2013

Play has been abandoned on the first day of the opening cricket test between New Zealand and England at the University Oval in Dunedin.

Heavy rain blew in before a ball could be bowled, following a delay for bad light, after Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum won the toss and sent England in to bat.

Spinner Bruce Martin will make his debut for New Zealand at the age of 32, while fast bowler Ian Butler is the 12th man.

Left arm spinner Monty Panesar has also been brought into the English side for offspinner Graeme Swann, who's been ruled out of the series to have surgery on a long-standing elbow injury.

That flared up in Queenstown in the loss to the New Zealand XI in the only four-day warm-up match.

McCullum says he and his side are aware of the importance of the series against England and how they need to show the cricket world they're still competitive in the test arena.

Having been humiliated by world number one South Africa earlier in the season the Black Caps, who're ranked a lowly eighth in all formats of the game, come up against the world's second-ranked test side.

McCullum says they need to show a competitive fight in all three matches and must also show improvement.

Meanwhile the England captain Alastair Cook says their coach Andy Flower hasn't allowed any complacency to filter into the squad in the build-up to the first test.

Cook says if they play to their best then they'll be hard to beat, but Flower has certainly not let their limited overs success affect their preparation for this match.