Redmond stakes claim for Test place
MCC 44 for 2 (Gillespie 2-26) drew with New Zealanders 239 for 9 (Redmond 72, Stephenson 2-42)
New Zealand may only have three-quarters of their squad assembled in England, but their new opening batsman, Aaron Redmond, got his tour off to a useful start with a solid 72 against MCC in the traditional opening match at Arundel. Rain interrupted the game throughout the day, and it dribbled into a draw after nine overs of MCC's run-chase.
Jamie How, New Zealand's stand-in captain in place of Daniel Vettori - who is on leave with the Indian Premier League - shared in an opening stand of 91 with Redmond. How smacked 10 fours in his slick 46 from 56 balls before he was caught off Chris Cairns, his former team-mate, who was captaining MCC. Redmond, who played for Wigan in the Lancashire League last year, fell to a brilliant one-handed catch by Paul Nixon for 72.
New Zealand's innings fell away thereafter, not helped by frequent rain interruptions, but Tim Southee clattered two huge sixes to lift their total to a challenging 239 for 7 from 47 overs. Mark Gillespie nipped out the MCC openers in quick succession before the final rain break terminated the match, and attention now turns to New Zealand's first proper warm-up against Kent at Canterbury tomorrow.
New Zealand have always struggled to find a reliable opening combination, and Redmond, 28, is their latest. He was once a middle-order batsman but reinvented himself as an opener when he joined Otago in 2004, and was awarded with a contract with New Zealand two weeks ago.
"I was a little bit nervous at the start because it's the first time I've had the opportunity to play for a New Zealand side, but it was great to find my feet," Redmond told PA. "It's a great opportunity and the best thing I can do is keep performing and training hard. I thought it would give me a better chance to play for the Black Caps and I tried to work on my game and make it nice and tight and it's worked for me."
Redmond is the son of Rodney who played one Test for New Zealand and was highly successful, scoring 107 and 56 against Pakistan in Auckland in 1972-73. However, he then struggled to adjust to new contact lenses on the visit to England later that year and managed only 483 runs at 28.41 and had to settle for being remembered as a one-Test wonder.
The first Test gets underway at Lord's on May 15.