NZ hinge hopes on Taylor, Williamson injury shake-off

Kane Williamson unfurls a refined drive Getty Images

New Zealand will be crossing their fingers that two of the big guns from their batting order, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, can shake off injury concerns ahead of the third ODI against England in Wellington where they will be trying to bounce back from a heavy defeat in Mount Maunganui.

There had been some encouraging news around Taylor after scans did not show any serious damage to the quad he had tweaked while trying to regain his ground in Wednesday's match but he still faces a fitness test on Friday.

Williamson's prognosis also remains uncertain with him requiring further assessment on his hamstring injury, too, when New Zealand train at the Basin Reserve. Williamson was ruled out of the second ODI after picking up the problem in Hamilton.

Mark Chapman, who made his first ODI appearance for New Zealand as Williamson's replacement on Wednesday, will remain with the squad as cover. The fact that no further reinforcements have been called in suggests New Zealand are hopeful at least one of the duo will be able to play.

They put in a largely poor batting display in Mount Maunganui, so will be desperate not to lose both Williamson and Taylor. They bring with them a combined 12,071 runs in ODIs and while Williamson is below his best form, Taylor scored a match-winning century in the opening match of the series and also became the third New Zealander to pass 7000 ODI runs.

However, while much of New Zealand's batting was disappointing in the second match - they have twice started poorly in this series, but were able to recover in Hamilton - the form of Mitchell Santner at No. 8 provided a timely boost. He secured a thrilling victory at Seddon Park and then scored his maiden ODI fifty at Bay Oval.

''Of late I have been struggling with the bat. I think the bowling has been coming along a bit better than the batting," he said. ''So it's good knowing you can still clear the fence if need be, and yesterday I spent a good time in the middle, something you don't often do at No. 8. So things I've been working on are paying off and it was nice to contribute with the bat."

New Zealand will assess what went wrong as they stumbled to 223 all out - offering five run-out chances, of which four were taken by a superbly sharp England side, will be high on the list - but having strung together nine wins on the bounce, one short of their best ever run, they will remain confident although that would be dented by a depleted batting line-up.

In both matches so far, they have lost wickets and been kept quiet in the first 10 overs - 28 for 3 in Hamilton and 34 for 2 in Mount Maunganui - and Santner suggested they may try to put the pressure back on England's bowlers.

''Our aggressive approach has been working, we've got to keep that up, and maybe try and take it to them a bit more in the first 10 just to get us a bit of momentum, but you've got to give credit where it's due," Santner said. "If they bowl good balls we have to try and see out a spell, then try and cash in elsewhere. If the wicket is flat, you probably try to come hard at the top."

Trent Boult, who became the fourth batsman to be run out in New Zealand's innings when he was found short by Ben Stokes' throw from the deep in the final over, knew the team had not done themselves justice.

"There's no doubt we were severely outplayed in all facets. They fielded extremely well and put a lot of pressure on us," he said. "The elephant in the room is the run-outs. They fielded very well but the one-day cricket we've been playing, and the way we have been batting, last night wasn't a very good representation of how we want to do things."