South Africa v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Centurion November 15, 2007

Gillespie in line for Test debut

Cricinfo staff


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Iain O'Brien limbers up ahead of the second Test © Getty Images
Mark Gillespie has been named in New Zealand's 12 as they go into the second Test of this brief series on the back of a thrashing at the Wanderers with a host of injury concerns. They are without the crocked Shane Bond, but Stephen Fleming has been included in the squad, despite suffering from injury.

If Gillespie makes the final XI this will be his Test debut for New Zealand. Gillespie, the fast-medium bowler, made his one-day debut at the tail-end of 2006 and has since played Twenty20s for New Zealand.

Fleming was struck on the elbow in New Zealand's second innings in Johannesburg and is also suffering from a problem with his thumb. Even with him the tourists' batting looked paper thin, and if he has to sit this game out it is hard to see where substantial runs will come from.

New Zealand had already been forced to summon Kyle Mills and Jamie How to cover for an assortment of injuries. Jacob Oram is suffering from a hamstring strain while Michael Papps is struggling with a gastric illness.

The spotlight was briefly on Matthew Sinclair, who recently rattled off 243 for Central Districts in a State Shield match against Otago. But New Zealand's selectors, who have been reluctant to depend on Sinclair, chose to go with How instead.

Mills and How arrived in South Africa on Monday but the New Zealand camp was reluctant to thrust them straight into action so soon after arrival. "Ideally we would not want to use them because they arrive today," Lindsay Crocker, the team manager, said. "But they are here as cover for the Test squad so they will be eligible for selection."

Mills appears likely to play as the pitch is expected to aid the faster bowlers. "Kyle Mills comes into the equation because he can bat, although to a lesser degree than Jacob [Oram]," said Daniel Vettori. Bond, who once again succumbed to injury - this time torn stomach muscles - has flown back home.

South Africa are a much more settled side and they will name an unchanged XI, so Shaun Pollock again misses out. This also means Boeta Dippenaar and Neil McKenzie, who were in contention for spots, have to wait a while longer.

The selectors have stressed the need for continuity. "We want continuity and, with the squad winning Test matches there is no reason to start making changes," Joubert Strydom, the convenor of selectors, said after the end of the first Test. He also dismissed claims that Graeme Smith, the captain of the South African team, was under any pressure after twin failures in the first Test. "Statistics show that Graeme is still a highly effective performer, and we are not in the least bit worried about him."

South Africa's coach Mickey Arthur, however, said they retained some concerns about playing New Zealand, despite the injuries to their opposition. "We still have enormous respect for them as a team, they are a team of fighters and I certainly expect them to bounce back hard.

"A team is most vulnerable when they've just won and we've had quite a winning streak. So I've done quite a bit of talking this week, telling the guys to keep their feet on the ground and warning them to be on their guard."

South Africa (probable) 1 Graeme Smith (capt), 2 Herschelle Gibbs, 3 Hashim Amla, 4 Jacques Kallis, 5 Ashwell Prince, 6 AB de Villiers, 7 Mark Boucher (wk), 8 Andre Nel, 9 Paul Harris, 10 Dale Steyn, 11 Makhaya Ntini.

New Zealand (probable) 1 Craig Cumming, 2 Michael Papps, 3 Stephen Fleming, 4 Scott Styris, 5 Ross Taylor, 6 Jacob Oram, 7 Brendon McCullum (wk), 8 Daniel Vettori (capt), 9 Kyle Mills, 10 Iain O'Brien, 11 Chris Martin.