Jamieson to undergo back surgery, set to be out for 'three to four months'

Matt Henry is available for the second Test against England; Ish Sodhi and Jacob Duffy have been released from the squad

Kyle Jamieson went off with pain in his lower back, England vs New Zealand, 2nd Test, Nottingham, 3rd day, June 12, 2022

No specific timeline has been put on Kyle Jamieson's recovery  •  Getty Images

Kyle Jamieson is set to be out for at least "three to four months" after undergoing back surgery this week.
Jamieson was originally on a comeback from a stress fracture of the back, sustained in England last June, and was primed for a return to action in New Zealand's first Test against the same opponents in Mount Maunganui. However, a suspected recurrence of the injury ruled him out of the series, before subsequent MRI scans and consultations with a back surgeon confirmed the need for surgery.
No specific timeline has been put on 27-year-old Jamieson's recovery. Blackcaps head coach Gary Stead hoped the operation and necessary rehabilitation would serve him well in the long term.
"It's been a challenging and difficult time for Kyle and a big loss for us," Stead said. "He's been fantastic around all of our sides when he's been part of them. We just wish him well and hope we'll know more in three to four months of what that end prognosis looks for him as well.
"A number of world-class players have had surgery in the back and it's different periods of time they recover. We just want Kyle [to get] the best chance of recovery because we know what a star he's been for us.
"Surgery provides a quicker return to play and that's the encouraging thing for him."
The loss of the tall and fast Jamieson, who has taken 72 wickets at 19.45 in his 16 Tests so far, was felt profoundly at Bay Oval, where New Zealand suffered their biggest runs loss to England in the first Test. England's victory by 267 was completed on the morning of day four in the day-night opener, putting them 1-0 up in the two-match series. It was Tim Southee's first defeat as captain.
"The way England are playing isn't a surprise to us at all, but they are playing very, very well. And I guess for us it's finding ways we can counter that and I guess slow them down and the pace at which they're playing the game"
Gary Stead
Southee, however, would be boosted by the return of Matt Henry, availability for the second Test in Wellington. Henry, the 31-year-old, would be rejoining the squad following the birth of his second child. With 55 dismissals at 41.09 in 18 caps, Henry would almost certainly come into the XI for the match, which begins on Friday at Basin Reserve. Jacob Duffy and Ish Sodhi have been released from the squad to play Plunket Shield cricket later this week.
Without Jamieson or Henry, the Blackcaps went into the pink-ball Test with an inexperienced attack, featuring debutants Blair Tickner and Scott Kuggeleijn, and found themselves chasing the match from the start despite winning the toss.
Though England only posted scores of 325 for 9 and 306, the manner of their scoring - at 5.57 and 5.06, respectively - allowed them to dictate the flow of the match. That in turn gave them two opportunities to bowl at New Zealand's top order under lights, reducing them to 31 for 3 and 28 for 5 on nights one and three.
Reeling England in is easier said than done. This was victory number ten out of 11 under the watch of Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes, carried out in a manner that underlined their ability to overawe their opponents by moving matches along at will. But Stead acknowledged that the focus ahead of the final match of the series was on using cues from the past weeks to somehow apply the brakes on their opponents.
"I think there's a couple of things that stood out to me during the Test. The way England are playing isn't a surprise to us at all, but they are playing very, very well," Stead said. "And I guess for us it's finding ways we can counter that and I guess slow them down and the pace at which they're playing the game.
"Look, they play at a pace that allows them to take key moments of that last match, as well. When I look at the positives, we bowled them out [nine wickets fell] in 58 overs in the first innings, and we bowled them out in the second innings. It's just how do you slow them down from the run rate they're going at. They were 230 for 6 in that second innings, so if you take four wickets for the next 40 runs you're batting for that period in the daylight as well and it could have been very different then as well. But they are the small margins that we work with.
"As I said, we don't try and get too high or too low around our wins or our losses, we just try and keep getting better and keep tuning up our performance."

Vithushan Ehantharajah is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo