Injured Neesham ruled out of series
New Zealand allrounder Jimmy Neesham has been ruled out of the remainder of the Test series against Australia with a back injury. Fast bowler Mitchell McClenaghan has been called in and will join the squad ahead of the second Test, which starts in Perth on Friday.
Neesham batted for 45 minutes in the second innings of the Test at the Gabba, where the fifth day's play began with Australia needing seven wickets for victory and wrapped up a win in an extended first session. But Neesham, who missed the tour of England earlier this year with a stress fracture in his back, will fly home after the Brisbane Test for assessment.
"Jimmy has worked hard to get back to fitness following his injury earlier this year, but at this stage still experiences discomfort when bowling extended loads," coach Mike Hesson said. "Jimmy will return to New Zealand for further medical assessment and we'll continue to monitor his situation. At this stage our number one priority is getting Jimmy fully healthy and ready for the home summer."
Neesham bowled 20 overs in the first Test against Australia and his injury is a further blow to New Zealand, who are already sweating on the fitness of new-ball bowler Tim Southee ahead of the WACA Test. Southee left the field on the second day at the Gabba with an irritated lower disc in his back, and Neil Wagner was called into the squad as cover for him.
New Zealand may field a vastly different attack for the Perth Test, with left-arm spinning allrounder Mitchell Santner a strong change to debut in place of Mark Craig, which would allow four fast bowlers to play. Hesson said the uncapped McClenaghan would offer plenty to the group when he joined the squad in Perth.
"Mitch has the ability to run in all day, bowl quick spells and has experience on the International stage," Hesson said. "He'll bring a lot to the group and is obviously very excited to come and join the squad."
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale