Kiwis suffer double injury blow ahead of Australian tour
KEY Black Caps Trent Boult and Colin de Grandhomme are both racing to be fit for the series against Australia after being ruled out of the second Test against England.
Uncapped allrounder Daryl Mitchell has been called into the New Zealand squad for the Test in Hamilton starting on Friday, which they need only to draw to clinch the series after a dominant innings and 65-run win in Mount Maunganui.
Accomplished paceman Boult and allrounder de Grandhomme are undergoing rehabilitation on muscular injuries to the torso, with a hope they'll be ready for the first of three Tests against Australia, starting in Perth on December 12.
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An MRI scan confirmed Boult had strained a muscle overlying his ribs on his right hand-side. Importantly, he was cleared him of any bone stress. New Zealand's fourth-highest Test wicket-taker with 255 scalps, Boult shapes as the most likely bowler to threaten Australia's batsmen, particularly in the day- night Test at Optus Stadium.
In his two Tests with a pink ball, Boult has claimed 16 wickets at under 13 runs apiece, including seven wickets against the Australians at Adelaide four years ago when he ripped through the second innings top order.
De Grandhomme has a tear to his left lower abdominal muscle, sustained while fielding late in the Test at Bay Oval.
The 33-year-old has emerged as an integral part of New Zealand's makeup, averaging 40.33 with the bat and 29.63 with his medium pace, the sort of figures that compare favourably with any of the world's current allrounders.
Speedster Lockie Ferguson is favoured to make his Test debut as Boult's replacement.
Like Ferguson, Mitchell has represented New Zealand in white-ball cricket but not Tests.
The son of former All Blacks rugby coach John Mitchell, he could make a maiden Test appearance on his home ground of Seddon Park as a like-for-like replacement for de Grandhomme.