Kane Williamson is near enough to a certain starter for the second cricket test against West Indies in Wellington on Wednesday after scoring a century for his province yesterday.
The New Zealand No 3 was scratched from the Dunedin draw on match eve when his fractured left thumb was deemed too much of a risk.
But he tested it out for Bay of Plenty in a Hawke Cup match, and New Zealand coach Mike Hesson said he came through with flying colours.
"He got 140-odd yesterday and the day before he left [Dunedin] we had a pretty thorough fielding session. He's got a good splint on there that's protecting the thumb and he's fizzing to go, so assuming that he scrubs up well today after bowling and fielding in Tauranga he'll look to take his place," Hesson said as the teams moved to windswept Wellington to begin preparations.
It means Williamson will replace Aaron Redmond in the New Zealand side. Hesson named an unchanged squad of 13 and will reassess his bowlers tomorrow after their huge workload in Dunedin, sending down 224 overs in back-to-back innings.
One option is to bring in Doug Bracewell to share the bowling load, particularly if the pitch is seam-friendly as expected, and omit legspinner Ish Sodhi with Williamson providing a spin option.
Both sides shared a horror flight from Dunedin to Wellington in high winds. The pilot abandoned his first attempted landing with the plane being blown about, before circling again then touching down safely to loud applause.
Hesson was hugely positive about his side's performance in Dunedin, even as the match was washed out with New Zealand a tantalising 33 runs from victory at 79-4 in their second innings. Their forecast had told them showers would clear later in the afternoon but the players never got back on the field after being forced off by rain at 3.05pm.
"The outcome is frustrating but to be fair it was pretty close to the perfect test. With 600 on the board, obviously get a big lead and get a chance to knock it off in the fourth innings. We played very well."
Meanwhile, a West Indies spokesman said opener Kraigg Brathwaite is scheduled to arrive in Wellington tomorrow after a delay in having a visa confirmed.
Captain Darren Sammy said he was confident of playing in Wellington despite being badly hampered by a gluteal injury in Dunedin.
New Zealand squad: Brendon McCullum (captain), Peter Fulton, Hamish Rutherford, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Corey Anderson, BJ Watling, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Aaron Redmond.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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