Key Black Caps pair to miss second test

Trent Boult will miss the Black Caps' second test against England. Photo: Getty Images
Trent Boult will miss the Black Caps' second test against England. Photo: Getty Images
The Black Caps have been hit by a double injury blow ahead of their second test against England.

Trent Boult and Colin de Grandhomme have both 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.

Northern Districts all-rounder Daryl Mitchell has been called into the test squad as de Grandhomme's replacement, and will join the Black Caps today along with Lockie Ferguson and Todd Astle, who have rejoined the test squad after being released to play domestic one-day cricket.

Mitchell, who has played nine Twenty20 internationals for the Black Caps, hit an unbeaten 170 for Northern Districts in his last Plunket Shield match, and played for New Zealand A against England in their warm-up match, taking 2-34 and contributing scores of 19 not out and 22 with the bat.

He most recently took 3-54 and hit an unbeaten 62 from 54 balls to lead ND to a one-day win over Central Districts on Monday.

A powerful batsman with good technique who likes to hit the ball straight, Mitchell averages 35.6 with the bat in first-class cricket, and 33.5 with the ball, having taken 61 first-class wickets with his medium-pace offerings.

He would be a like-for-like swap with de Grandhomme, though Black Caps coach Gary Stead could opt for an extra batsman in Tom Blundell, or play four seamers or two spinners, with Mitchell Santner promoted to bat at No 7.

Boult's ailment seemingly opens up a spot for Ferguson to make his much-anticipated test debut in a seam bowling trio alongside Tim Southee and Neil Wagner.

However, Stead was cautious when asked about Boult's potential replacement, with Matt Henry also an option, and one who may be more suited to filling Boult's role on a Seddon Park surface that could assist swing bowlers.

"We know the skills Lockie has and the point of difference that may bring to us, whether that happens in this test match or not is still something we need to see over the next couple of days," Stead explained.

"If it's a very dry wicket, there's the potential of playing two spinners, so we've got different options that we'll keep looking at and considering. There's also Matt Henry, who has done a fine job for New Zealand in the past when he's been given an opportunity."

Both Boult and de Grandhomme will begin rehabilitation with an aim to be fit for the Black Caps' first test against Australia in Perth on December 12.



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