Craig Cumming and Mathew Sinclair return to Test cricket after being picked in New Zealand's 13-man squad for the first Test against Sri Lanka starting December 7 at Christchurch.
Sinclair last played a Test against Australia in Adelaide in 2004-05. John Bracewell, the New Zealand coach, said that he had been picked on the basis on his performance in the last season.
Sinclair played nine first-class games in New Zealand's State Championship in 2005-06 and made 723 runs with three hundreds and five half-centuries at 51.64. "In the end, it came down to a sheer weight of runs compared with the other possible candidates," said Bracewell. "We are rewarding guys who have been successful in the early rounds of the domestic competition."
Iain O'Brien and Michael Mason, Bracewell said, were returning to the Test squad from injury. "O'Brien has been the form bowler, especially his performances on very good batting strips, and Mason's efforts have been very encouraging."
Hamish Marshall was not included after a string of poor scores and a Test average of 14.57 for 2005-06. In fact only Jamie How got picked from the four openers tried out in New Zealand's tour to South Africa in April and May this year. Michael Papps, the opener for the second and third Tests against South Africa, is out due to injury along with Scott Styris and Kyle Mills. Mills was troubled by an ankle injury during the South African tour and has not played any first-class games this season. He will be assessed by the medical staff on December 4.
One player will be released from the squad a day before the beginning of the Test.
Squad Mathew Sinclair, Jamie How, Craig Cumming, Stephen Fleming (capt), Nathan Astle, Brendon McCullum, Jacob Oram, Daniel Vettori, James Franklin, Shane Bond, Chris Martin, Michael Mason, Iain O'Brien