Black Caps' fingers crossed for in-doubt Boult

Trent Boult takes part in a New Zealand training session at Optus Stadium in Perth yesterday. Photo: Getty Images
Trent Boult takes part in a New Zealand training session at Optus Stadium in Perth yesterday. Photo: Getty Images
Trent Boult remains in doubt for Thursday's first test against Australia as the New Zealand quick battles to overcome a side strain.

Black Caps officials were yesterday remaining hopeful the left-armer would pass a fitness test later in the week in Perth.

New Zealand had their first hit out at Optus Stadium on Monday night, and while Boult completed light warm-up duties he did not bowl, given he arrived on Sunday.

"He's here which is a good start. He will be assessed over the next couple of days over how his fitness pulls up," fellow quick Tim Southee said.

"He's here and if he can get through the next couple of days I don't see why he wouldn't play.

"He is an experienced guy and if he's good to go, he's good to go."

Boult, who was injured in New Zealand's test win over England a fortnight ago, was forced to pass a fitness test last Friday to prove he could fly to Australia.

Allrounder Colin de Grandhomme is in a similar position, after also tearing his abdominal in the same test win over England.

But it is Boult whose fitness will attract the most attention.

The left-armer has taken two five-wicket hauls in his two pink-ball test matches, his 16 wickets coming at just 12.50.

The 29-year-old could pose a specific threat to Australia's two premier batsmen in Steve Smith and David Warner.

His natural angle from over the wicket and swinging of the ball away from the left-hander has previously troubled Warner, while he has also picked up Smith's wicket four times.

"He is a very good bowler," Smith said.

"Good skills, left arm bowler that can swing the ball back (into the right-hander). Anyone that does that at pretty good pace - it's something you don't see a lot of.

"He has terrific skills. A great record. I know he has got a bit of a side strain or something.

"He is maybe a little bit undone but, no doubt, if he plays, we will have to very watchful, he is a very good bowler."

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