New Zealand to include extra batsman
New Zealand are likely to play an extra batsman in the third Test against South Africa, which starts in Wellington on Friday. The hosts played five specialist batsmen in the previous two Tests, in which the highest total they managed was 273. Only two in their lineup, Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson, scored half-centuries.
"That [playing another batsmen] is something we will strongly consider because we haven't been getting enough runs," John Wright, the New Zealand coach said. "We've looked short at times and have had a long tail."
New Zealand included Daniel Flynn and Dean Brownlie in the squad for the third Test and both look set to play. Flynn is likely to open, even though his two hundreds in two first-class matches came in the middle order. He played 16 Tests for New Zealand between 2008 and 2009, also in the middle order, but Wright said Flynn had always been an eager opener. "He's earned his place on form; I know he's keen to eventually bat at the top of the order," Wright said.
Wright ruled out the possibility of McCullum returning to the top of the line-up, saying he will remain at No. 3. He hoped Flynn would solidify the top order to allow the batsmen lower down to play their natural game. "You don't want to be in a situation with the middle order always going in at 20 for 3," Wright said. "[Ross] Taylor and McCullum have played well, they just need to go on and post three figures. That's really what we talk about a lot."
The coach also tipped the other opener, Martin Guptill, to come good after his streak of seven consecutive half-century scores was broken by South Africa. "Guptill's had a lean time, that can happen when you're opening. We know he's a class player and hopefully he'll come right this Test match."
Brownlie is likely to make a return as the No. 6 batsman, after suffering a broken finger in the series against Zimbabwe last month. New Zealand's batting woes do not have Wright in panic mode just yet, though. He said even if New Zealand went on to lose the series, they had performed well against a top team.
Edited by Devashish Fuloria
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent