Boult to play, doubt over Williamson

Back New Zealand paceman Trent Boult bowls during practice at Edgbaston, in Birmingham, yesterday...
Back New Zealand paceman Trent Boult bowls during practice at Edgbaston, in Birmingham, yesterday for the second test against England starting at the ground tonight. PHOTO: REUTERS
Mitchell Santner out.

Trent Boult in.

Kane Williamson in doubt.

There is plenty to ponder for Black Caps coach Gary Stead before the second test against England, which gets under way at at Edgbaston at 10pm.

Santner has been ruled out with a finger injury. The left-arm spin bowler has enjoyed the favour of the selectors when the Black Caps have not gone with a four-pronged pace attack.

His departure will not trouble his many detractors. Ajaz Patel is a vastly better left-arm spinner at test level but Santner is preferred because of his superior batting.

Wellington’s Rachin Ravindra is also an option. He is more of a top-order batsman who bowls a bit, though.

Williamson is under an injury cloud. His troublesome elbow injury, which resulted in him missing some cricket during the Black Caps home summer, has resurfaced.

Stead said the Black Caps would monitor the complaint.

"We’ve had some more treatment on that and we just want to make sure it’s the best thing for him, playing in this match versus taking a bit more time to be ready and training the way he needs to train," he said.

If Williamson does not play, it will be interesting to see how the Black Caps fill that slot.

Devon Conway could shift down one and Tom Blundell play as an opener, or it could be an opportunity for Will Young to slot in at No3 and leave the rest of the top five unchanged.

Stead confirmed there would be a change to the line-up for the seamers.

Boult arrived in England late and missed the first test. But the left-armer is likely to replace either Tim Southee, Neil Wagner or Kyle Jamieson. Southee seems the most likely.

Resting one of the three would probably be unthinkable in normal circumstances. But the Black Caps have a World Test Championship final against India coming up and that weighed heavily on the decision.

"We want to make sure the key bowlers who we think will take part in that game are refreshed and ready to go for that first ball of the match against India, so we’re certainly having discussions with the guys around what’s best for them."

There is still an opportunity to win a test series against England and that has Boult awfully excited.

"I thought the guys played tremendously well at Lord’s the other week. It was great to see some great performances and hopefully we are in for another big week."

Second test Edgbaston, from 10pm

New Zealand: Tom Latham, Devon Conway,  Will Young, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling, Colin de Grandhomme, Rachin Ravindra, Kyle Jamieson,  Neil Wagner, Trent Boult, Tom Blundell, Kane Williamson (c), Daryl Mitchell, Tim Southee, Doug Bracewell,  Matt Henry, Ajaz Patel, Jacob Duffy.

England: Joe Root (c), James Anderson, Sam Billings, James Bracey, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Zak Crawley, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Dom Sibley, Olly Stone, Mark Wood, Dom Bess.

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