South Africa in New Zealand 2016-17 March 23, 2017

Injured Southee ruled out of Hamilton Test

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Moonda: Depleted New Zealand left with plenty of problems

New Zealand have suffered a third major injury blow in three Tests with news that vice-captain Tim Southee has been ruled out of the Hamilton match with a hamstring tear. Although only a grade one tear, Southee will not be risked in an attack that is still waiting on confirmation of whether Trent Boult, who sat out the Wellington Test with an upper leg injury, will be able to lead it. At the other end of the line-up, New Zealand are without their most experienced batsman Ross Taylor, who suffered a calf tear in the first Test and has not been able to participate in the remaining two.

Southee's absence leaves New Zealand with four other seam options: Neil Wagner, Matt Henry, who is yet to play in the series, and allrounders Colin de Grandhomme and Jimmy Neesham. It is likely New Zealand will choose between three of the quartet to feature in an attack that is set to include both specialist spinners.

Jeetan Patel and Mitchell Santner are the two slower bowlers in the New Zealand squad and both played in the first Test in Dunedin, at the expense of Southee, on a slow, low surface. The Hamilton one is set to be similar, although it is also expected to take some turn. With New Zealand deciding not to add legspinner Ish Sodhi to their squad, the two tweakers will likely be in the starting XI.

This is Southee's second injury of the summer. In September, he was ruled out of the three-Test series in India after an ankle ligament strain. He went on to play the four home Tests against Pakistan and Bangladesh, against whom he picked up his 200th Test wicket, before sitting out the first Test against South Africa in Dunedin and being brought back for the second. There is no word on whether the injury will affect Southee's participation in the IPL, which starts on April 5.

Since Boult's Test debut in December 2011, New Zealand have played only three matches without both Boult and Southee, none of which the side could win.

South Africa have an injury concern of their own. Quinton de Kock suffered damage to a tendon on his right index finger and could need up to six weeks on the sidelines. A late call will be taken on de Kock's availability on Friday afternoon.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • irmort3565390 on March 24, 2017, 2:32 GMT

    Sameold, agree. I'd be keen to see 5 genuine bowlers tomorrow as we need to take 20 wickets. And that means no part-time bowlers like Neesham.

  • Beau on March 23, 2017, 22:09 GMT

    I think being a selectir is a little more complicated than many fans realise. So much talk here about bowling selections when our bowlers largely do their job almost all the time, only to watch the batsmen fail or just barely scratch together a par score. In an attack of Ish, Ferguson, Henry, Boult and Munro or Neesh (which seems to be the attack people want) tell me this: who bowls all the overs? 90 overs in a day, guys. Teams like SA will make you get up and bowl again next morning, too. Southee and Boult have been consistently over-bowled since KW became captain. Patel and CDG came in and bowled tons of overs this series. Wagner bowls ten or eleven over spells at times. I can't see any of the guys in the attack above being fit enough to bowl 20+ good, solid overs in a day, let alone backing up next day, except Boult.

  • Jay on March 23, 2017, 21:00 GMT

    Kuggelijn is in for southee or Boult it seems

  •   cricfan87811383 on March 23, 2017, 19:49 GMT

    Spare a thought for Mitchell Santner. He is brought into the team as a youngster with little FC cricket behind him and is being asked to be a test class spinner and offer substantial runs in the lower order.

    I think that having McCullum in the middle order masked deficiencies in this area - Neesham and Anderson could be the supporting role, but not now.

    I will be interested to see how the selectors choose the CT squad. Kuggelijn has impressed me with for the last couple of years - he must be very close - assuming he is available. I notice that Ferguson got a 5 for the other day and is consistently going for under three an over. He is still raw, but so if he has the talent start picking him for tests.

  • Jonathan on March 23, 2017, 19:44 GMT

    Re selections: I like loyalty. However i think there are some glaring issues with the make up of recent nz sides. nz cannot play two all rounders, that has never been and will never be a viable option. Southee should not be vice captain. The way he throws his wicket sends all the wrong signals. I like Santner more than his stats warrant but he is not yet a test cricketer. This test is the time for bold selections to try and win. That means taking 20 wickets. That means ish should have played and so too Henry.

  • Aalee on March 23, 2017, 17:21 GMT

    The Black Caps core squad has essentially been from one franchise , in recent years, namely Northern Districts with Otago players well represented. If you play for say Central Districts or Auckland your prospect of NZ selection is more ethereal.

  • Bill on March 23, 2017, 16:47 GMT

    Do I get a prize for predicting Matt Henry getting injured & missing out on the Champions Trophy?

  • Shane on March 23, 2017, 16:13 GMT

    And I agree about Santner too - far from convinced about his place in the test team, I'd be playing Sodhi in the test team when we only have one spinner personally. This new obsession with all rounders who aren't actually good enough with either bat or ball is a little frustrating.

    Still, for me a lot of the criticism from both of us comes from disagreements over selection. Let's be honest, those are always going to happen and they are half the fun for us fans when it comes to jumping on here and debating the pros and cons. I'm not opposed to criticism of selections and the team when they fail - just the opposite. I just haven't seen any evidence of some kind of institutionalised flaws in the administration of the game. Maybe I'm not looking closely enough. I would like to see KW come out of his shell a bit more as far as his captaincy goes but I'm hoping that will come with time.

  • Shane on March 23, 2017, 16:00 GMT

    @JOHNTHEKIWI - fair enough, I think of those criticisms are warranted. As you allude to though, a lack of depth is always something we are going to struggle with - that's the reality of cricket in NZ. I wholeheartedly agree that it's bizarre we haven't seen Guptill in the middle order or Raval brought into the test setup earlier. Southee, well both him and Boult seem to be some way below where they were when they were being talked about as one of the more lethal partnerships going, but Southee has still pulled out a couple of massive spells this summer.

    In general though yeah, perhaps we could try being a little more creative. Perhaps we need another real bottoming out to kick us in the pants again - look at the strides the Aussies have taken since they hit rock bottom a little while ago as an example. Bring in a bunch of news guys and suddenly they have a very good team again.

  • David on March 23, 2017, 15:59 GMT

    The best New Zealand can hope for is rain, can't see how they can beat South Africa without Taylor, Boult and Southee.

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