The Black Caps have been hit by a double injury blow ahead of their second Test against England, with both Trent Boult and Colin de Grandhomme being ruled out due to injury.
Boult, who could only bowl one over on the final day of the Black Caps’ win by an innings and 65 runs in Mount Maunganui, went for an MRI scan yesterday, which confirmed he had strained one of the muscles overlying his ribs on his right-hand-side but cleared him of any bone stress.
He will miss the Test starting on Friday at Seddon Park as will de Grandhomme, who sustained a tear to his left lower abdominal muscle during the second innings, which saw him not bowl after lunch.
“I don’t know if I’m confident, but I’m quietly optimistic they’re tracking where we want them to be,” Stead said. “But it’s a long way to go if we know they’re not going to play, so we’d likely look at replacements.”
New Zealand played Matt Henry and Daryl Mitchell for Boult and de Grandhomme respectively against England in Hamilton, and also have Lockie Ferguson waiting in the wings for a chance in the Test arena.
“Both Colin and Trent are progressing well, which is encouraging for us,” Stead said. “Colin could have kept bowling through the last Test so he’s probably just a little more advanced. But Trent rocked up well today.
“Both have rolled their arm over at a very low level in the last two days. But both are going to have to prove their fitness a couple of days out from the first Test and bowl a decent spell of 10-12 overs at least over two or three spells.”
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson lauded his team’s progress in this two-match series and looked forward to the “tough” tour of Australia.
“We have a lot of big cricket coming up over ‘The Ditch’ (Tasman Sea) and it will be a tough challenge, but a couple of good matches for us,” he said. “We always know that going over there will be tough. We must keep playing what is in front of us. That was a positive (outcome) in these two matches.”
The first test, which starts on December 12, is a Day-Night affair in Perth but isn’t preceded by any pink-ball practice game.
“It’s just another thing to adapt to,” Williamson reflected on the tight scheduling. “Such is the international schedule. We fly out in a couple of days, have a bit of training and we’re straight into another match. So it is quite a quick turnaround.”
“The conditions – the surfaces – are quite different. They will bounce a bit more. This was a brilliant series win for us, but we’re going to have to adapt quickly. We know it’s tough – a lot of the guys have been there before – and we know they’re very strong, clinical in their own [backyard]. We’ll look forward to the challenge,” he added.