Kane Williamson is confirmed to return, leaving a decision on the final pace bowling spot in New Zealand's 11 to face West Indies in tomorrow's second cricket test at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.
The No 3 batsman was given the all-clear by captain Brendon McCullum to return from a fractured left thumb for Aaron Redmond, after batting, bowling and fielding at final training today.
McCullum also confirmed legspinner Ish Sodhi would retain his spot on a Basin greentop, leaving a choice between Neil Wagner and Doug Bracewell for the final place. Wagner seemingly remains in the box seat after being preferred in the Dunedin draw.
"You've got to wonder if three [quicks] can't get it done then whether four will. With the allrounder we probably have enough with three plus Corey [Anderson]. We just have to work out that balance of the three," McCullum said.
The bowlers had been looked after well since their Dunedin exertions, McCullum said. They sent down 224 overs across back-to-back innings but played a limited role at training.
McCullum described the Basin pitch as a lot greener than any he'd seen in recent memory, which in theory should be perfect for the New Zealand pace attack of Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Wagner or Bracewell. The past three tests at the ground have been drawn.
"It certainly does have a rather green tinge to it. We saw in the first test our bowlers are certainly capable of extracting the most value out of those wickets. If the coin falls the right way then we'll get first use of it and I'm confident our bowlers will bowl that natural fuller length and hopefully we'll present a tough challenge to the West Indies batsmen."
McCullum insisted there was no lingering frustration from Dunedin where rain left them stranded on 79-4, just 33 runs short of their victory target. It extended their winning drought to 10 tests.
"There was disappointment we weren't able to wrap it up, but we looked objectively and said we played some really good cricket. Whilst that's not always what's going to be discussed in the media and around the traps, you've got to be strong as a group to know you're performing pretty well and we're not far away from getting test wins."
He also gave a thumbs up to the new Real-Time Snicko technology to be used for the first time in a New Zealand test, after both teams gave it the all clear. It will be used alongside Hot Spot by the third umpire to adjudicate on caught behind and lbw decisions.
"As long as we're getting the right decisions then that's fine. It looks like a good product, hopefully the implementation is good as well."
New Zealand: Peter Fulton, Hamish Rutherford, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum (captain), Corey Anderson, BJ Watling, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Neil Wagner/Doug Bracewell, Trent Boult.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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