4 Jan 2016

Rain causes fourth ODI to be abandoned

12:48 pm on 4 January 2016

Rain has forced the abandonment of the fourth ODI between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at Saxton Oval in Nelson.

A groundsman pulls the covers as rain falls during a cricket game.

A groundsman pulls the covers as rain falls during a cricket game. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The match only got underway at 3.40pm - well past the 11am start time - after steady rain delayed the first ball, and officials reduced the match to just 24 overs apiece.

But rain set in again about 40 minutes later, making the grounds too wet to play on safely.

The umpires officially called off the match shortly before 5pm.

New Zealand now holds an unbeatable 2-1 lead in the five-match series.

Earlier, Sri Lanka had won the toss and elected to field first.

Tom Latham only lasted 8 balls before he was caught behind for 9, while fellow opener, Martin Guptill followed him to the dugout shortly after, with a ball bouncing directly on his front foot to be out LBW for 27.

Captain Kane Williamson scored 12 before he was caught and bowled by Dushmantha Chameera.

The Black Caps were 75 for 3 after 9 overs, with Ross Taylor and Matt Henry at the crease, when the rain set in again.

The abandonment means the best Sri Lanka can now hope for is a drawn ODI series, with the visitors producing a huge turnaround in form at Saxton Oval in game three to claw their way back into the series.

The New Zealand cricketers will now have to wait until Tuesday, when the teams meet at Bay Oval in Mt Maunganui, to try to clinch a series win.