New Zealand will wait until the end of the Dunedin Test before making a call on Ross Taylor's availability for the rest of the series. Taylor was diagnosed with a low grade tear in the right calf on Friday morning, after he underwent scans, but returned to bat, although he appeared restricted in his movements.
Taylor was helped off the field when he was on 8 on the second day and received treatment overnight. New Zealand Cricket confirmed he would bat if required in this match and, with the hosts into the lead with nine wickets down, he returned to the crease to resume his innings but admitted he did not have high hopes for a long stint in the middle, because of his inability to run.
"I wouldn't say the confidence is that high. When I was walking out to the middle I was hoping I wouldn't get timed out," Taylor told RadioSport New Zealand after the day's play.
Despite his injury, Taylor started with a single off Keshav Maharaj and then faced six more deliveries from Morne Morkel, the first of which he slogged over the leg side for a six. "It was more of a fluke than anything, I couldn't put any weight on it so I had to get forward and Morne worked out that he just had to bowl short," Taylor said.
Taylor was not asked whether he hoped to play any further part in the series but the indications are that he will face at least some time out of the game. At the end of the second day's play Trent Boult said Taylor did "not look good," but the man himself is not giving anything away. "It's just a small tear so it was nice to contribute in some sort of way and get a lead but I am obviously still frustrated."
Taylor is New Zealand's second-highest Test century-maker on 16, one behind his mentor Martin Crowe. Earlier this season he became their leading century-maker in ODIs, but has lost his place in the T20 side.
If this Test goes the duration, there are only three days before the second Test starts in Wellington on March 16, which gives New Zealand six days to name a replacement if necessary. One man they cannot turn to is Martin Guptill, who will need six weeks of rehabilitation on his hamstring ahead of the Champions Trophy. Colin Munro, Neil Broom and Dean Brownlie are believed to be in contention for a call-up if needed.