AUCKLAND: Rain disrupted almost all of the second day of the first Test between New Zealand and England on Friday, with the hosts managing to extend their lead to 171 runs before they were forced from the field for good ahead of the final session.
Henry Nicholls was 49 not out while BJ Watling was on 17 as New Zealand reached 229 for four during the middle session of the day-night Test before heavy rain swept across the ground. The umpires had expected to resume for the final session under lights at 7 p.m. (0600 GMT), but more rain hammered down just as the players were emerging from the changing rooms.
Two further pitch inspections were taken by umpires Paul Reiffel and Bruce Oxenford, who decided the outfield conditions were too wet to resume play. The first session had been restricted to about 40 minutes of play, while the middle session lasted about an hour.
In between the showers, captain Kane Williamson managed to complete a New Zealand record 18th Test century to take him clear of team mate Ross Taylor and former skipper Martin Crowe. Williamson brought up the milestone when he ran a quick single after resuming nine runs shy of the mark with New Zealand on 175-3.
The 27-year-old, however, was unable to kick on further, with England taking the second new ball shortly after they returned and Jimmy Anderson trapping him in front. While the skipper reviewed, television technology upheld Reiffel`s decision to give him out for 102.
Nicholls and Watling, who is playing his first test in a year after battling a hip injury, then continued to build a huge advantage as they sought to capitalise on the home side`s superb bowling display on the first day.
After being put in to bat, England were skittled out for 58 in the first 90 minutes of action on Thursday, the tourists blown away by a Trent Boult and Tim Southee seam onslaught. Boult finished with a career-best six for 32 after he had ripped the top off England`s batting with figures of 4-9 from his first six overs. Southee finished with 4-25.
Rain is forecast for each of the remaining three days. The second test, a standard daytime match, is at Hagley Oval in Christchurch from March 30-April 3.