England v New Zealand, 1st Test, Lord's May 13, 2013

Southee fit for first Test

ESPNcricinfo staff

New Zealand fast bowler Tim Southee has been declared fit for the first Test against England, which begins at Lord's on Thursday.

The New Zealand team management had rested Southee after lunch on the third day of the warm-up match against England Lions in Leicester, after he picked up a foot injury. Southee, who bowled 19 overs in the four-day game, visited a specialist in London over the weekend to erase all injury concerns.

"Tim is fine," Mike Hesson, New Zealand coach, told the media at Lord's on Monday. "It was very much a precautionary response from us to send Tim down to London for further investigations. He had some treatment on his toe and he is very comfortable and will be all right for the first Test." Hesson also cleared doubts over left-arm seamer Neil Wagner, who suffered a broken toe-nail but has been declared fit.

During the drawn home Test series against England in March, New Zealand persisted with same XI in all three matches, an approach Hesson admitted was important to provide stability and confidence to the squad.

In that series, which was drawn 0-0, the hosts stuck to three fast bowlers in Southee, Wagner and Trent Boult along with Bruce Martin, the left-arm spinner. Although he did not reveal the line-up for the first Test, Hesson said he was open to playing four fast bowlers based on the ground and overhead conditions.

"Absolutely. It is an option," Hesson said. "We are not closed in our views in terms of who we play. Whoever is left out is a tough decision but we have got to pick the best side for the conditions."