Wellington - Persistent rain and a pitch that offered the seam bowlers little assistance ensured the second Test between New Zealand and England at the Basin Reserve ended in a damp draw when the final day's play was abandoned without a ball being bowled on Monday.
Much of Sunday's fourth day was also washed out after lunch as intermittent rain showers swept across the Wellington region resulting in a near farcical situation as the umpires cleared the ground for play three times, only for the rain to return and force further delays.
New Zealand were 162 for two when match officials abandoned the day's play at 14h05 local (01h05 GMT) with Kane Williamson 55 not out while Ross Taylor was on 41 after the pair combined for an 81-run partnership to thwart England's bowlers on Sunday.
The hosts were still 49 runs away from making England bat again after Alastair Cook had enforced the follow on when New Zealand were bowled out for 254.
The visitors, who had been asked to bat by New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum as he tried to exploit whatever advantage the pitch would provide, batted the hosts out of the match on the first day with Nick Compton and Jonathan Trott scoring centuries.
Despite Stuart Broad's six for 51 in New Zealand's first innings, none of the pace bowlers got much assistance from the pitch throughout the match, which frustrated England bowling coach David Saker.
“It probably makes the game more even, there's no doubt about it. It makes it harder for the bowlers of both sides to prise out the wickets,” Saker told reporters.
“For the spectacle of test cricket it is not the greatest way. Anyone watching the game wants to see the ball bounce through, they want to see the batsmen play off the back foot more.
“Sometimes its a bit frustrating for the spectators.”
The series, which will now head to the final match at Eden Park, has been evenly matched, albeit on benign pitches, with the hosts having the better of the first test in Dunedin, while England were on top in Wellington.
“We had the advantage the majority of the game in Dunedin and couldn't push on because of a combination of how well England batted in the second innings and losing a day as well,” New Zealand batsman Peter Fulton said.
“Probably the opposite has applied here. They've been on top the whole game as well... If we can go into the last game still able to win the series I think that would be a pretty good result.”
The match at Eden Park will be played on a drop-in pitch and Saker said he was looking forward to a bit more life in it than had been witnessed at the cricket-only grounds at University Oval and the Basin Reserve.
“If we'd had five days I'm sure we probably would have got the result we wanted,” Saker said.
“We know we have played on a lot of test wickets like this and we know we have got wickets and got sides out on wickets like this.
“I'm sure if we apply enough pressure to this batting lineup we can still win (and)... we go to the last test like a Cup final... and hopefully we get a wicket that produces a good contest.” - Reuters