Kane Williamson returns to lead New Zealand against England in Wellington
The captain missed Wednesday’s second match of five due to an injury.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson will return from injury for the third one-day international against England – but the hosts will be without fellow lynchpin batsman Ross Taylor.
Williamson missed Wednesday’s second match of five, in which the tourists eased to a series-levelling six-wicket win, and was replaced at number three by Mark Chapman – winning his first ODI cap for the Kiwis.
A slight hamstring strain kept the captain out, with Tim Southee leading the team instead, while Taylor then suffered a quadriceps injury mid-match and was unable to field.
New Zealand Cricket issued a brief update after training at Wellington’s Basin Reserve on Friday.
It read: “(Ross) Taylor has been ruled out of Saturday’s third ODI against England.
“He will be further assessed ahead of the fourth ODI.
“(Kane) Williamson passed his fitness test at training and is available for the third ODI tomorrow.”
Another key player who will also be involved, and has had a significant impact in both matches so far, is all-rounder Mitchell Santner.
He followed his big-hitting 45 not out to clinch the series opener in Hamilton with his first ODI half-century in his 50th match at Mount Maunganui two days ago.
It was not enough to keep the Kiwis in front, however, or extend their previous winning streak to equal the national record of 10 matches.
“We were outplayed, especially the way they bowled up top and didn’t give us much,” said Santner.
“We lost wickets at crucial times, and 220 was never enough on that surface.”
He can hope for much better at the Westpac Stadium, a venue where New Zealand trounced England at the last World Cup and also beat them in last month’s Twenty20 Tri-series.
As for his own fortunes, Santner is understandably encouraged by the improvement which has belied his batting position down at number eight.
“For me, it’s trying to be more still (at the crease),” he said.
“When you’re trying to hit at the end, if you’re moving all over the shop, it makes it pretty tough.
“It’s a work in progress, (but I hope) I can do more of the same in the next few games.”