NZ’s Boult, Tay­lor doubt­ful for S Africa clash

New Straits Times - - Sport -

WELLINGTON: It is still too early to tell whether pace bowler Trent Boult and Ross Tay­lor will re­turn to New Zealand’s side for the vi­tal third Test against South Africa in Hamil­ton, bat­ting coach Craig McMil­lan said yes­ter­day.

Boult (up­per leg) and Tay­lor (calf) were in­jured in the drawn first Test in Dunedin and missed the eight-wicket sec­ond Test de­feat to the Proteas at the Basin Reserve, which ended in­side three days on Satur­day.

The 27-year-old Boult had said dur­ing the match that he had been close to be­ing avail­able for the game and McMil­lan added yes­ter­day that the left-armer had been bowl­ing in the nets.

Like Boult, Tay­lor will join the squad in Hamil­ton but McMil­lan said it was still too early to know whether the ex­pe­ri­enced bats­man would be avail­able for a Test New Zealand must win to level the three-match series.

“You can’t take play­ers into a Test against South Africa who aren’t fully fit,” McMil­lan said.

“I haven’t spo­ken to him for a cou­ple of days but I’m sure he is keen. He loves play­ing there and he’s done well in re­cent times.”

Tay­lor’s po­ten­tial re­turn would so­lid­ify a New Zealand bat­ting lineup which was hum­bled by South Africa in the sec­ond Test.

South Africa’s left-arm spin­ner Ke­shav Ma­haraj took a ca­reer-best 6-40 in the sec­ond in­nings de­spite the ball not turn­ing ap­pre­cia­bly on what was a good bat­ting wicket.

Pun­dits crit­i­cised some of the se­lec­tion de­ci­sions, par­tic­u­larly go­ing in with only two front­line seam­ers and try­ing to bol­ster the bat­ting with all-rounders Jimmy Nee­sham and Colin de Grand­homme.

The pair scored a com­bined to­tal of 23 runs in Wellington and took only four wick­ets be­tween them, even if de Grand­homme’s 3-52 in the first in­nings had helped re­duce South Africa to 94-6.

Opener Tom Latham is also woe­fully out of form, hav­ing scored 10, 8 and 6 in the two Tests against the Proteas after notch­ing scores of 7,0, 0, 2 and 0 in the five one­day matches he played against Aus­tralia and South Africa last month. Reuters

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