South Africa in New Zealand 2011-12 March 20, 2012

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Justin on March 21, 2012, 6:08 GMT

    All this chopping and changing isn't going to do NZ any favours. All they're doing is swapping one makeshift opener for another one and neither are up to it against quality international opposition. Furthermore given Guptill's long-standing underperformance against quality opposition himself and batting McCullum out of place at number 3, I don't see any light at the end of the tunnel for NZ. They are fundamentally unbalanced without an established opening pair, without a stand-out number 3, with two keepers in the side and a long tail given all the bowlers in their side, with the notable exception of Vettori, can't bat.

  • Satish on March 21, 2012, 5:59 GMT

    Should Flynn open the batting? Why not Baz return to open and leave Flynn in middle order where he felt comfortable earlier and scored a mammoth 100 in his last domestic game? Baz opening and Kane at 3 could be far better option i feel..

  • Tony on March 21, 2012, 5:51 GMT

    Rich of him to say the middle order are coming in at 20 for 3. It seems more like thats when the tail enter the fray when 3 wickets are down.

  • Veli on March 21, 2012, 5:21 GMT

    I would be that eager to open against Philander and Stern

  • Dummy4 on March 21, 2012, 1:11 GMT

    Yes, fine to bring in another batsmen if you want to take that team balance ..but flynn opening is crazy...McCullum gave up the gloves to stand up as a batsmen...he should open....if not flynn will just go the way of wasted talent again...hamish marshall exp didnt work 2006. WHERE IS TIM MACINTOSH?

  • Kevin on March 20, 2012, 23:51 GMT

    If you are replacing Brent Arnel, who apparently can't bat or bowl, with another batsman, it can't exactly weaken the team. Maybe the great allrounder Bracewell might care to turn up with his bat this time. Bit different to playing Zimbabwe isn't it boys, where just about everyone could score centuries if they applied themselves? Against SA, from Vettori onwards, don't expect anything. From Vettori upwards, expect slightly more than nothing!

  • Dennis on March 20, 2012, 22:24 GMT

    Will we ever learn , he did so well in the middle order for NZ , he got asked to bat at 3 and failed and was dropped , now he gets asked to open when he's scoring heaps of runs for ND in the middle order , push McCullum up ,bat Fylnn at 5 ,Taylor should bat 3 he's bats there for CD and put Wiiianson at 4 , Browlie at 6 , not that it will probably make much difference ,as this SA team is probably the best team in the world at the moment .

  • Greg on March 20, 2012, 21:58 GMT

    I hope the Flynn gamble pays off, but it baffles me how NZ continues to throw players in at the deep end. Opening against the best pace attack in the world when all your first class runs have come in the middle order? I'm confused???

  • Garry on March 20, 2012, 21:09 GMT

    Obvious choice is James Franklin, but perhaps to obvious for our selectors.

    Also I couldn't give a rats behind if Ryder turned up to practice druck, ethos is way over rated, runs or wickets on the board trumps everything all.

  • des on March 20, 2012, 18:56 GMT

    So they'll be playing with 3 batsmen instead of two? Sounds like good move.

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