Dunedin tipped to get another test next year

Members of England's Barmy Army were in full voice at the University Oval in Dunedin yesterday...
Members of England's Barmy Army were in full voice at the University Oval in Dunedin yesterday after a quiet start to the cricket test against New Zealand. Photo by Craig Baxter.
A visit from the Indian cricket team seems unlikely but Otago Cricket Association chief executive Ross Dykes is certain Dunedin will get another test next summer.

Mr Dykes feels the University Oval has thoroughly established its status as an international venue after hosting its fifth test, which ended in a draw between New Zealand and England yesterday.

India, the biggest drawcard in world cricket, and the West Indies are touring next season. The West Indies will play three tests but it appears likely India will play only two.

''I'd be very, very surprised if we didn't get a test,'' Mr Dykes said yesterday.

''We'd like two, but that might be too ambitious. We'd love to see India here, but to be honest we're more likely to get the West Indies.

''The important thing is we've established that we can run a good test match in Dunedin. I think we've secured ourselves a regular position on the circuit.''

New Zealand Cricket said 22,188 people attended the University Oval test, including the rained-out first day. About 8000 attended the test against South Africa, which also lost a day to bad weather, a year ago.

NZC keeps the gate takings, but the OCA keeps profits from pourage and a percentage of concessions. Mr Dykes is anticipating a ''pretty good profit'' once all the figures are available.

He was ''very grumpy'' on the scheduled opening day of the test, which was spoiled by rain, but finished the week in a ''delighted'' mood.

''We had good numbers through the gate, and New Zealand did well and I think gained some credibility.

''The pitch was of good quality. It was great for batting and I think that's a credit to the groundsman, Tom Tamati.

''Our visitors loved the ground, and the Longroom. The whole intimacy of the University Oval appeals to everybody. And we've had English supporters saying they have enjoyed not being harassed by security.''

The test will be remembered for Hamish Rutherford's remarkable innings of 171 on debut. Mr Dykes said the young Otago opener's performance was ''absolutely wonderful''.

He was also pleased to see Neil Wagner grabbing wickets, Brendon McCullum captaining New Zealand on his home ground for the first time, and former Otago players Jonathan Trott and Steven Finn doing well for England.

Barmy Army tour organiser Giles Wellington said the group had a ''fantastic'' week in Dunedin, despite a few patches of bad weather and England's ''perilous'' start to the test.

Barmy Army members would be making their way up the South Island in the next few days, before congregating in Wellington for the next test.

''We've been well looked after and enjoyed Dunedin very much. It was a good test match in the end, although we thought we were in a bit of trouble at one stage.''

Dunedin police were impressed with the behaviour of cricket supporters throughout the week.



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