Durban - Cricket South Africa has blamed the poor outfield conditions during the first Test against New Zealand on unseasonal rains in Durban, after three full days of cricket were lost to the elements.
The outfield had been relaid at the end of June, after complaints from players about the poor grass coverage, and seven weeks should have been enough time for the turf to attach. But heavy rains in July, unusually so, stopped the grass from attaching.
As such, a storm overnight on day one damaged the outfield beyond repair, despite three days of sunshine to follow, though many pondered the lack of full ground covers. There had apparently been a suggestion to borrow covers from a local club, but that was not done.
CSA chief Haroon Lorgat said on Cricinfo: "Following our first experience during August last year and the feedback received from both teams, we have relaid the outfield to make it more suitable for Test match cricket.
"However, the unseasonal rain at this time of year had impacted our preparations of the newly laid outfield. The flood conditions more than a month ago had affected the de-compacting process.
"SuperSport Park (the venue for the second Test), on the other hand, was relaid by "overseeding" it with a winter grass and the results have been impressive.
"It is most unfortunate and certainly beyond our control that the heavy unseasonal rains in Durban had impacted our plans.
"We are sympathetic to the efforts of all the ground staff who have tried their level best to ensure match readiness despite the adverse weather conditions leading into this Test match."
The second match in Centurion starts on 27 August.