Mason to miss first Test

Michael Mason has been ruled out of the first Test against Sri Lanka at Christchurch with a hamstring strain. Mason suffered the injury in the final stages of Central Districts' loss to Northern Districts in the State Championship on Saturday, when he took 3 for 74 from 25 overs.

Mason was considered a realistic chance of playing ahead of James Franklin in the Test match starting on Thursday. It would have been only his second Test after making his debut against South Africa at Wellington in early 2004.

But New Zealand confirmed that although Mason's injury had improved since the weekend, he was still not 100 percent fit and would not be risked. Mason will also miss Central Districts' next State Championship match but he is expected to be available for the second Test against Sri Lanka starting in Wellington next Friday.

Mason's omission leaves New Zealand with a squad of 12 for the first Test, with either Franklin or Iain O'Brien likely to be left out of the starting line-up.