NZ's Williamson wants last look at pitch before naming side
WELLINGTON: New Zealand captain Kane Williamson will make a final inspection of the Basin Reserve pitch before confirming his side for the first test against India on Friday, though pace bowler Kyle Jamieson looks set for his debut in the absence of Neil Wagner.
Wagner has withdrawn from the squad to await the birth of his first child and while Matt Henry was drafted into the 13-man squad as cover Williamson said on Thursday he had not been included in the 12 that will make up the final selection.
"We just want to have another look at this surface," Williamson told reporters. "It's got a different look to what we're used to seeing here at the Basin."
If selected, the 2.03m Jamieson would join spearheads Trent Boult and Tim Southee in a three-pronged pace attack but Williamson said it would not be easy to fill Wagner's shoes.
"You don't replace a guy like Neil," he added. "The qualities that he brings are quite unique but you then bring in a guy who targets slightly different areas, coming from a slightly different height as well."
All-rounders Colin de Grandhomme and Daryl Mitchell and left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel are likely to be the gunning for the remaining two spots depending on the final inspection of the pitch before play starts at 11.30 a.m. (2230 GMT).
Basin Reserve groundsman Hagen Faith said he expected the pitch to be competitive throughout the test but Wellington's wet summer had not helped in preparing the ground.
He expected spinners would come into play later in the test as the pitch broke down, but signs on Thursday were that any assistance was likely to come from bounce rather than turn.