Tim Southee out of third test for New Zealand v South Africa through injury

A hamstring injury has put Tim Southee  out of the New Zealand side for the third test against South Africa.
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A hamstring injury has put Tim Southee out of the New Zealand side for the third test against South Africa.

 

Well, that's at least made the selection jigsaw puzzle a tad easier to complete.

The Black Caps will be without Tim Southee for the third cricket test against South Africa due to a hamstring injury, after a scan on Thursday showed Southee has suffered a grade one tear of his left hamstring.

New Zealand opener Jeet Raval backs his team-mates to bounce back in Hamilton.
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New Zealand opener Jeet Raval backs his team-mates to bounce back in Hamilton.

New Zealand has juggled its three-pronged pace attack throughout the series, with Southee being dropped from the first test side while injury kept Trent Boult out of the second test defeat in Wellington.

So it seems clear Boult and Neil Wagner will now be assigned duty for the quicks at Seddon Park in Hamilton when the Black Caps attempt to level the three-test series they trail 1-0.

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That's unless the radical approach of playing just one quick, along with all-rounders Colin de Grandhomme and Jimmy Neesham, and the spin duo of Jeetan Patel and Mitchell Santner has some appeal.

The mystery of what the pitch will produce will continue to present problems of picking a side right up until the toss, with Santner's inclusion - likely at the expense of de Grandhomme - maybe the most likely scenario, even after the Aucklander took the new ball for New Zealand in both South Africa's innings in Wellington.

Southee felt discomfort following the match at the Basin Reserve and a scan revealed a minor tear; enough to sideline him from the final test.

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It's a setback for a side that needs to win to level the ledger, but opener Jeet Raval is backing his colleagues to bounce back quickly.

While the Black Caps unravelled in a day in the capital, they certainly weren't "un-raval-ed". The left-hander, who made his test debut last November, has scored 168 runs in three innings this series at an average of 56 - only opposition opener Dean Elgar has contributed more runs - and his tight technique has served him well, with a dose of good fortune also aiding him.

What shouldn't be forgotten in the fall-out from the second test stumble is that New Zealand had battled South Africa on an even keel - with little advantages swinging to and fro - this series until a disastrous day three in Wellington.

So Raval was able to see there was some brightness among the lingering gloom.

"There's been a fair bit of reflection over the last test, but all-in-all we have learned from our mistakes and we're looking forward to the next five days here and rectifying our errors," Raval said.

"We don't need to change a whole lot of things - it's about being better for long periods of time.

"As we've shown in the first test - and bits of the second test - we were good enough; I think we just need to be good enough for long periods of time. If we can do that, I think we'll be able to square the series."

Raval's 80 was the only knock of note in New Zealand's second innings at the Basin Reserve, but it wasn't enough to satiate him.

"I would have liked to score not 80 but 180, because that's what wins you games. I was disappointed in that regard."

It's tough for a six-test rookie to speak on what's ailing his more experienced team-mates, but Raval expects better things in Hamilton.

"I think they've got out to some very good balls - you're going to get that against a quality opposition.

"Tommy's [Tom Latham] going to come right - he's a world-class player. We've got faith in Tommy, he's working as hard as anyone and I'm sure he'll come good.

"Every player goes through rough patches in their career - it's about understanding what needs to be done. It's about going back to the basics.

"It's about being very strong in your game plans and sticking to it for long periods of time ... you know your rewards will come later in the innings. You can be forced to go for a period of time without scoring any runs and that's what international cricket is about."

 - Stuff

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