Melbourne: New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson on Wednesday confirmed that pacer Trent Boult will be playing the upcoming second Test against Australia. Boult had missed the first Test in Perth after injuring his ribs and side in a Test against England last month.
Earlier, the skipper had also confirmed that opening batsman Jeet Raval will be replaced by Tom Blundell. Blundell is a part of the New Zealand side as a back-up wicketkeeper-batsman and has previously been used in the middle order.
Raval has been in poor form of late as he has just averaged 7.3 in his last nine innings and as a result, the side has opted to go with Blundell.
"He is a positive player and at the same time, a smarter cricketer... it is important he goes out and looks to play his natural game," cricket.com.au quoted Williamson as saying.
Australia had defeated New Zealand in the first Test of the series and as a result, moved to the second spot in the ICC World Test Championship standings.
The second Test between Australia and New Zealand will be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) from 26 to 30 December.
New Zealand squad for the second Test: Todd Astle, Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Jeet Raval, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, BJ Watling, Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson (captain).
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The short ball to get rid of Steve Smith was his favourite among the 13 wickets in the series, along with the dismissal of Marnus Labuschagne.
In the 21st century, there have only been 20 instances of a visiting batsman playing more than 350 balls in a Test in Australia. The only man to have done so thrice is Cheteshwar Pujara. The games in question? Adelaide 2018, Sydney 2019, Sydney 2021 – a series-opening win, a series-clinching draw, and now this. That is impact.
Pujara, whose dogged half-centuries (50, 77) in the third Test helped India draw the match, is placed eighth, just behind his stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane, who lost one place.