Ross Taylor
Ross Taylor. (Photo: Getty Images)

Last Update on: December 10th, 2019 at 09:46 pm

New Zealand suffered a scare ahead of the series-opener against Australia in Perth as senior batsman Ross Taylor copped a blow on the right thumb. The tweet from Blackcaps suggests that Taylor is fit but they will still sweat over his fitness as in most cases the pain resurfaces next morning. Taylor is a vital cog in NZ’s middle-order and will be one of the key players for visitors on this tour.

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While Taylor is expected to be fit but if he misses out, wicketkeeper-batsman Tom Blundell might replace him in the squad. The 29-year-old has played two Tests matches in which he has scored 136 runs, which includes a century on his debut against West Indies in 2017.

Trent Boult, New Zealand vs Sri Lanka 2018
(Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

Apart from Taylor, the visitors are also sweating over the fitness of Trent Boult and Colin de Grandhomme. Both the players suffered issues during the first Test against England last month and missed the second Test. They were cleared to be part of Australia tour but it isn’t confirmed whether they are fit to be part of the Perth Test.

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New Zealand have Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson as backups for Boult. The home team resisted handing debut cap to Ferguson as Henry played against England. But Ferguson might get the nod in Australia if Boult sits out. As for Grandhomme, there is no replacement for him as Daryl Mitchell hasn’t flown to Australia for the series.

Kane Williamson, Ricky Ponting, Australia vs New Zealand 2019/20,
Kane Williamson (Credits: Twitter)

The first Test of the series takes place in Perth from December 12 to 16. The day-night fixture will be played with a pink ball.

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Australia, who defeated Pakistan 2-0 recently, are all but set to retain the same playing XI. James Pattinson will continue to sit out as Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc will perform the pace bowling duties. Michael Neser’s wait to wear ‘Baggy Green’ will extend as he will also be sitting out.