England in New Zealand 2012-13 March 18, 2013

Bracewell could bolster tiring NZ attack


Doug Bracewell could feature in the final Test against England if he comes through his Ford Trophy one-day outing on Wednesday with Mike Hesson, the New Zealand coach, admitting that his bowlers were "hanging by a thread" at one point during the Wellington encounter.

By the time England were bowled out for 465 on the second day at the Basin Reserve, New Zealand had spent 317 overs in the field since the beginning of the visitors' second innings in Dunedin. Although Hesson said they had all come through unscathed, and felt it had worked in New Zealand's favour that they did not field for the final three days in Wellington, he acknowledged the demands of three Tests in three weeks on his pacemen.

"It's been great for us that we haven't had to bowl the last three days," he said. "Our guys were hanging on by a thread there for a while. It's great to see they've had a decent break. I assume they'll be fine but we need to show some due diligence.

"The three we've got have done a great job, so we've basically brought in Doug and got Ian [Butler] there as cover. We'll see how guys scrub up in Auckland because to play three Tests on the bounce is hard work for any seam attack."

Neil Wagner has nine wickets in the series, but Trent Boult and Tim Southee have just four and one respectively for their efforts. Bracewell, 22, missed the first two Tests after cutting his foot cleaning up glass after a party at his house the day before linking up with the squad in Dunedin. He had been expected to feature in the first-choice attack for the series having taken 46 in 15 Tests. There was hope he would recover in time for Wellington, but has only recently been able to put his full weight back on the foot.

"It's certainly good to have him back in the mix," Hesson said. "It was an unfortunate incident. Hopefully he can get through tomorrow, 10 overs under his belt, and we will see how he scrubs up."

Another bowler making a comeback from injury, although much further from a national recall than Bracewell, is Daniel Vettori. He remains hopeful of being available for the England tour in May and, with potentially only one domestic game left in the season, is hoping to use the IPL to gain further match fitness.

However, while Hesson said that New Zealand had missed Vettori in recent times - he has not played internationally since the World Twenty20 and his previous Test was in West Indies last July - he was also strong in his praise of Bruce Martin who has filled the spinner role in this series and claimed nine wickets in his first two Tests.

"All signs are he's made good progress so we'll see how he goes over the next few days," Hesson said. "We've missed him for six months, not only the experience he brings but also the skill he brings. Let's hope his recovery over the next few weeks goes well. To be fair Bruce Martin hasn't put a foot wrong…he has certainly shown that he's a good campaigner."

Two other members already in the Test squad who have not feature in the series, Tom Latham and Ian Butler, will play their Ford Trophy games on Wednesday before joining the national squad for the final Test. The deciding Test in Auckland begins Friday.

New Zealand squad for Auckland Test: Brendon McCullum (capt), Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell (pending getting through Ford Trophy game on Wednesday), Dean Brownlie, Ian Butler, Peter Fulton, Tom Latham, Bruce Martin, Hamish Rutherford, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling (wk), Kane Williamson.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • NITIN on March 20, 2013, 19:43 GMT

    Seriously I don't think the NZ selectors should consider Vettori for Test selection anymore. He's way past his sell by date and contributes little with both bat & ball, although that is the criteria for selecting players in NZ. It is better to invest in some young talent. Also, Bruce Martin is doing the job for the time being but selectors should keep an eye on the future.

  • dave on March 20, 2013, 12:50 GMT

    Bruce Martin must stay. Dan V has never won a test for NZ in all his bowling efforts. He should have retired from test cricket and played the limited overs instead as it suits his style of tidy but ineffective wicket taking bowling.

    Resting bowlers after 2 tests? - so when is their next game? - nuts.

  • Andrew on March 20, 2013, 8:32 GMT

    @ClintBratt - Boult should be 'rested', is that supposed to be a wind up? It's not like we have a more important five-Test series starting next month. It's the most important game in a long time as there is a Test series to be won (not drawn like in Sri Lanka). Why would anyone want a rest?

    The only way there will be a change is through loss of form or injury, otherwise we may as well quit now. That said, when the coach is making astonishing statements like he has here, you never know what might happen.

  • John on March 20, 2013, 5:44 GMT

    Bruce Martin has been great in this series, not only bowling well but contributing with the bat as well. I can't see Vettori doing any better.

    England should have batted again in Wellington. NZ did not want to bowl again and England's bowlers were also tired. There was never much chance of a result, so the sensible thing to do would have been to look to the future.

  • Al on March 20, 2013, 2:53 GMT

    Keep Southee, add Bracewell drop wattling and keeper mc Cullum so we can have maximum bowling power.....come on McCullum....just this test for the series win

  • Clint on March 20, 2013, 1:12 GMT

    Wagner has toiled hard and got just reward for putting in 120%. He is courageous and looks able to bend his back for another test, so he deserves a place in the playing XI in Auckland.

    I'd also have Southee there because he is the best exponent of swing bowling. While we haven't had much swing in the series so far it is likely to bend a bit more with the humidity in Auckland.

    On this basis Boult might get a deserved rest and give Bracewell a chance to impress.

  • Beau on March 20, 2013, 1:10 GMT

    @dickiebrewsters- Good point. But why didn't you list the other six occasions that England has EVER beaten New Zealand?

  • David on March 19, 2013, 22:15 GMT

    I would actually put Butler in for Southee as he has good pace and would slot in the batting order below Watling.

    Alternatively, drop Brownlee for a game, move lower order up and play 5 bowlers 1: Fulton 2: Rutherford 3: Williamson 4: Taylor 5: McCullum 6: Watling 7: Butler 8: Martin 9: Bracewell 10: Southee 11: Boult

    This way lower workload per bowler whilst bringing in 2 fresh seamers. Batters would have to take more responsibility and whilst 7-11 is a bit thin, 4 of the top 5 are good & Watling is competent at 6. McCullum would have to get 20-30 runs out of each of Nos. 7-10 and if so the selection might pay off.

  • Dummy4 on March 19, 2013, 21:08 GMT

    "Hanging by a thread" - oh come on Hesson! Wasn't it England that bowled twice in Wellington?

    Also, why is the criterion for the next Test's selection how our guys 'scrub up'? Don't form and fitness count for more than looks?

  • Graham on March 19, 2013, 21:04 GMT

    The New Zealand attack is young and will not be tiring, indeed if they were fit before the series started these long stints will have only made them fitter...Ridiculous heading for the article.

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