New Zealand news – Trent Boult unavailable for second Test against South Africa


New Zealand will likely field an unchanged side with Gary Stead not expecting conditions to differ much

Trent Boult will not be available for the second Test against South Africa with his lack of recent bowling deemed to be put him at too great of an injury risk.

It means Boult has likely played his last home international cricket of the season with those having IPL deals expected to be unavailable for the ODI series against Netherlands at the end of March.

Boult was not in the squad for the opening match of the series in Christchurch as his wife awaited the birth of their third child and though he will join team-mates to bowl in the nets around the second Test it was felt too much of an ask to put him through a game.

“[He] is not in a position to be available with his loads and where he’s at,” New Zealand coach Gary Stead said. “Since his wife has been having the baby he’s missed out on a lot of opportunities to play cricket and bowl. We just felt the risk of him playing was far too great at the moment.”

New Zealand have retained an unchanged 15-player squad for the second Test which means no place for a specialist spinner. Ajaz Patel has yet to return to Plunket Shield action after injury and Stead did not expect conditions to alter much from the first Test where New Zealand’s quicks dominated by bowling out South Africa for 95 and 111. Allrounder Rachin Ravindra is part of the squad should a spin-bowling option be required.

“We considered a [frontline] spin option but didn’t feel as though we needed it on this pitch, through history and the way it was looking after the last Test match,” Stead said.

The absence of Boult and lack of changes to the squad means the same four-strong pace attack that dismantled South Africa first time around are set to get another chance together. Matt Henry was the leading light with a career-best 7 for 23 as part of a nine-wicket match haul.

“He’s always been a good bowler and sometimes you need that opportunity to strike and make the most it,” Stead said. “He bowled beautifully throughout the Test but I thought the whole bowling unit bowled really well together and thought that was one of the reasons we were so convincing.”

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