Melbourne: Reserve batsman Tom Blundell has been confirmed to replace the out-of-form Jeet Raval at the top of New Zealand’s batting order for the Boxing Day Test against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Blundell opened the batting for New Zealand on Sunday in a warm-up match against a Victoria state XI and made a timely unbeaten half-century before retiring.
Raval was jettisoned after twin failures in the 296-run defeat to Tim Paine’s Australia in the series-opener in Perth, following a poor home series against England.
“I feel like I can do a good job wherever,” two-Test wicketkeeper-batsman Blundell told reporters in Melbourne.
“This game I’ve been given the opportunity to open, so I’m really looking forward to Boxing Day,” he said.
Blundell batted at number eight in his three Test innings, which included a century on debut in Wellington.
“I’ll probably try to still bat the same,” he said of his promotion.
“It’s just the first 30 balls I’ll just have to be a bit more patient outside the off-stump, and if I can last those 30 balls, then hopefully I can bat a bit more positively,” he added.
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A video footage showed Smith scuffing up the batsman's guard during drinks break in the first session on Monday. Pant scored a fluent 97 to raise India's hopes for a win.
"They (Australians) played without real commitment. They weren't right in the contest often enough. There weren't hungry to convert 60 runs to 130 runs with individual totals," Healy said.
England would be touring India for a four-match Test series, beginning on February 5, followed by five T20 Internationals and three ODIs.