Image: Australia’s captain Steve Smith (L) reacts after being hit in the helmet by a delivery from New Zealand’s Trent Boult (R) during the fourth day of the second cricket test match at the WACA ground in Perth, Western Australia, November 16, 2015. REUTERS/David Gray
By Ian Ransoma
ADELAIDE (Reuters) – New Zealand have yet to pick their side for the third and final test against Australia but frontline seamer Trent Boult has improved his chances of selection after coming through a full-blooded training session unscathed.
Swing specialist Boult, who has been struggling with back issues, could be key to New Zealand’s chances of levelling the series at Adelaide Oval, with a pink ball set to be used in test cricket’s inaugural day-night match.
Australia lead the three-match series after winning the opener in Brisbane and the drawn second test in Perth.
New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum told reporters at Adelaide Oval on Thursday that the tourists had yet to settle on their line-up.
“Trent bowled yesterday in the nets and I thought he bowled with good pace as well,” added McCullum.
“He sent a couple of bouncers in there as well just like all the other bowlers did last night.
“If he’s pulled up well today, we’ll obviously see how he goes tonight and we’ll be able to name a team later on.”
The Adelaide Oval pitch had a green tinge on the eve of the test, promising something for the pacemen. Fellow left-armer Neil Wagner is on standby should Boult fail to prove his fitness.
With batsmen complaining of difficulty making out the seam of the pink ball under floodlights against spin, McCullum felt there could be changes to the team that held Australia to a draw in Perth.
“We’ve got some considerations in terms of the wicket and just some slightly different quirks and with the game obviously being played a bit later,” he said.
“I wouldn’t think we’d name an unchanged 11, I think there’ll probably be some changes. It’s just a matter of working out what the best balance is.”
Bowlers are expected to be at their most threatening under the floodlights in the test, but McCullum said tactics would have to be learned on the run.
“No one knows at the moment, that’s one of the things that’ll come out of this test match or day-night test cricket, that there is going to be some different demands tactically on captains and how they try to exploit some of those opportunities,” he said.
“Over rates will be interesting as well heading into this test match. It doesn’t get dark until 8 o’clock here, so there’s really only an hour, an hour and a half of ball under the full floodlights as well, so again there’s a tactical element there.”
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)
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