South Africa in New Zealand, 2011-12 February 28, 2012

Taylor to return for first Test

ESPNcricinfo staff

Ross Taylor will captain New Zealand in the first Test against South Africa after impressing the medical staff with his recovery from a calf injury. But his side will be without the batsman Dean Brownlie, who needs more time to get over a fractured finger he sustained during the second ODI against Zimbabwe.

Taylor suffered his problem during the only Test against Zimbabwe last month and has missed the ODIs and Twenty20s against both Zimbabwe and South Africa. Brendon McCullum has led the side in Taylor's absence and he will hand the reins back for the first Test, which begins in Dunedin on Wednesday next week.

"We are pleased with Ross's improvement and he will have fully recovered from the calf injury in time to lead the team against South Africa," the New Zealand team physio Dean Close said.

Taylor has been his country's leading Test run scorer since he took over the captaincy from Daniel Vettori last year and his inclusion will be a major boost for New Zealand, who are hoping for their first Test series win against South Africa. But the loss of Brownlie will hurt, given the success he has had in his short Test career.

Brownlie is second behind Taylor on the run tally this season and he was especially impressive on the tour of Australia, where he was the leading scorer in the series and helped New Zealand to a historic Test win in Hobart. It remains to be seen whether Brownlie will play later in the South African series, but Close said he would not be ready for the Dunedin Test.

"After discussions with Dean and the medical specialists it is clear he will not have recovered in time for him to be considered for the first Test," Close said. "With the injured finger being on his left hand he is struggling to grip the bat without pain. He is progressing, and has started hitting balls, but needs more time to fully heal before he's ready for the rigours of international cricket."

New Zealand and South Africa meet in two more one-day internationals over the next week before the three-Test series begins.

Edited by Brydon Coverdale

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 1, 2012, 6:34 GMT

    @Nerk your comment "SA does not have a quality spinner" is totally incorrect as they have an awesome spinner whose name is Imran Tahir. He is likely to be the best spinner in the world by the next world cup in 2015. Just look at his record.

  • Simon on February 29, 2012, 11:08 GMT

    Beware the kiwi! At home they can beat anyone, even though they don't look as though they can threaten. SA are, on paper, the best team in the world. Though they do not have a quality spinner, their batting and pace attack is world class. But they never seem to make the jump into greatness. NZ will play the underdog card happily, and they will fight SA all the way. Also, @mabless, The Wallabies have won 20 out of the last 35 matches against the Box, including twice in World Cups. Please explain again how the Springboks are better again.

  • Blessing on February 29, 2012, 5:38 GMT

    @redneck you're right mate we are not going to take NZ lightly, especially since their playing at home and given the fact that we have a history of manumentally falling apart. Aus is good, no actually Aus is great, and they're our greatest foe/archnemesis. but there is no sport where its an outright given that they will beat us. England, Australia and RSA are the best nations in sport no daubt. out of the three. ENG takes football, AUS takes Cricket and i believe the Springboks are better thanthe Wallabies dispite the World cup defeat!!!!

  • Dummy4 on February 29, 2012, 2:44 GMT

    @mabless - SA the best sporting nation on earth? You are kidding right? Mate, rugby it's the ABS - that's just a fact. Won the last WC and always up the top of the rankings plus we now have a much better record than SA, that goes for 7's too. Football and Hockey, tell me what has SA achieved there? Golf - Got some handy golfers I'll give you that, Tennis??? I never hear any SA's being mentioned at the big tournaments. Swimming? As far as I am aware Aussie and the States excel at the Olympics and dominate in that sport.

    Your cricketers are very good but South African's can't run their mouths until they do the business against all the big teams on a consistent basis. You won't lose to NZ but who knows funny things happen in sport but my $$ is def on SA. But dude, while I respect SA in certain sports (Rugby / Cricket) your comment about being the best sporting nation is a massive exaggeration. Hate to admit it but that's Aussie - I'm a KIWI too!

    You're living in a dream world bro.

  • hayden on February 28, 2012, 22:58 GMT

    @mabless mate great sporting nation no doubt but i dont think south africas got much on australia in any of those sports! plus olympics and commonwealth games i dont see south africa near the top of either medal table. the kiwis are not a easy side to beat in new zealand, its one thing to say the kiwis have never beaten sa in a test series but if you look at how many series they have played in new zealand its like 1 in a decade.

  • Dummy4 on February 28, 2012, 21:24 GMT

    Brownlie is a huge loss for NZ and I have to say I'm really concerned about Ryder apparently being fast tracked into the NZ. I don't doubt his talent at all but talent doesn't bring consistency and talent doesn't add to the team. Personally, I think Nicol deserves a shot at the number 5 position with Brownlie out. NZ also need to stick to their 4 prong 'pace' attack. Bracewell and Southee should be good enough to bat at 8 and 9 in tests and we are only going to compete if we can take wickets. My XI would be: Guptill, McCullum, Williamson, Taylor, Nicol, Vettori, Watling, Bracewell, Southee, Boult,, Martin.

  • Dummy4 on February 28, 2012, 21:12 GMT

    @mables. Really? The best sporting country in the world? I mean out of the sports you listed you can barely claim to be stronger than little old NZ. Rugby and hockey goes to NZ, football would be a 0 all draw cause we both suck. You've got some talented golfers for sure but tennis and swimming? NZ would beat you in softball, cycling, shot put, yachting, rowing etc... But none of that matters cause as much as it pains me to say it Aus is far and away the greatest sporting nation on earth!

  • ras on February 28, 2012, 13:15 GMT

    well...let the real matches begin ...enough with snacks (20-20), appetizers (ODI) and let the course meal begin (test).... i think the proteas should give respect to New Zealand as they are playing away from home but not too much respect. Play to your strength and New Zealand will tumble.. Proteas on the rise. Shouldn't change the side that beat Sri Lanka and Graeme certainly needs to buckle up. GO PROTEAS.

  • Dummy4 on February 28, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    Mabless, Springboks got knocked out in the quarters in the Rugby World Cup. Lol.

  • Dummy4 on February 28, 2012, 9:32 GMT

    Anything less than 3-0 for SA would be disappointing.

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