MELBOURNE (Reuters) - New Zealand will travel to Brisbane early to acclimatise to local conditions ahead of the first test against Australia after their preparations were disrupted due to a tour match being scrapped in farcical circumstances on Friday.
Originally intended to last four days, the match was scaled back to three before being abandoned by lunch on the second day due to the acute deterioration of the pitch at the Blacktown International Sportspark in western Sydney.
New Zealand’s bowlers could prise just one wicket from the opening four sessions and only after the Cricket Australia XI openers built a 503-run partnership, an Australian record in first class cricket.
New Zealand’s batsmen did not hit a ball in anger and the team heads to Brisbane frustrated by the lack of match practice.
“We had two days and haven’t gained a lot out of it from a preparation point of view, other than time on our feet,” coach Mike Hesson told New Zealand media.
Cricket Australia offered to find the Black Caps better facilities in Sydney, but New Zealand will instead train at Allan Border field in Brisbane ahead of the test at the Gabba, which starts on Thursday.
While the abandonment was something of an embarrassment for hosts Cricket Australia, Hesson was reluctant to lay blame.
“It’s not anyone’s fault, you just can’t grow any grass on the surface, and that’s not the groundsman’s fault,” Hesson said.
“There’s no hard feelings, we understand they’re going to try to help us get some practice facilities ahead of the test match.”
New Zealand are bidding to win their first test series in Australia in 30 years.
Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford