Christchurch Test to go ahead despite earthquake

Despite a massive earthquake that has killed at least two people in New Zealand, the first Test between New Zealand and Pakistan, scheduled for Thursday, is set to go ahead as planned.

Rotherham Road, 110 kms north of Christchurch, shows damage and land slip in the aftermath of the earthquake.   -  Getty Images

The first Test between New Zealand and Pakistan is set to go ahead in Christchurch this week, despite a massive earthquake which killed at least two people and caused major infrastructure damage.

A New Zealand Cricket (NZC) spokesman confirmed on Monday that the Test would begin at Hagley Oval on Thursday as planned after the venue and teams' accommodation were checked and found to be safe.

The 7.8-magnitude quake, one of the most powerful ever recorded in New Zealand, hit just after midnight (1100 GMT Sunday) near the South Island town of Kaikoura, about 180 kilometres (110 miles) north of Christchurch.

New Zealand pace bowler Matt Henry was asleep at home in Christchurch when the quake struck. "I was lying in bed and woke up to quite a long rumble," he said. "It was a bit scary. They're hard to get used to."

Henry said the cricket would be a welcome distraction to help people take their minds off what had happened "It always brings a community together and for a brief moment you can get back to a bit of normality, so it's probably a good timing to have a Test match this week," said Henry.

'Horrible'

The Pakistan touring squad felt the tremors in its hotel in Nelson, about 200 kilometres from the quake's centre. "Some of the boys were in prayer, some were watching the India-England Test on TV when we felt the windows shake," team manager Wasim Bari told ESPNcricinfo.

"The whole room began to shake. We were on the sixth and seventh floor, and evacuated immediately. We are all safe," added the former Test wicketkeeper.

Pakistan's women's team, which is also touring New Zealand, was on the 13th floor of a hotel in Christchurch when the tremors began. Basit Ali, its manager, told Pakistan's Geo News they were all safe. "It was so horrible and players were scared, we immediately moved out of (the) hotel. Players were without slippers even," he was reported as saying.

Pakistan is due to face New Zealand's women's team in the fourth One-Day International at Nelson's Saxton Oval on Thursday.