Black Caps star ruled out of second South Africa test

Publish Date
Monday, 21 February 2022, 9:23PM
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Trent Boult will miss the Black Caps' second test against South Africa, paving the way for another spell in the starting XI for red-hot bowler Matt Henry.

Black Caps coach Gary Stead put an end to speculation about the bowling lineup for Friday's test, revealing that the squad will remain the same as the one that demolished the visitors at Hagley Park last week.

Boult, who sat out of the first test for the birth of his third child allowing Henry to step into the starting side, was available to return to the squad for the second test.

While Boult's return would've been a welcome boost for the Black Caps, his absence will at least avoid a potential selection headache and give Henry an opportunity to continue where he left off in his sensational performance in the first test – where he claimed the third-best bowling figures in New Zealand test history with 7-23 in the first innings against South Africa, hit 58 not out batting at No 11, then backed it up with two more wickets in a career-best performance.

Stead confirmed on Monday that Boult would miss the second test as a precaution due to his limited bowling workload.

"Our squad will remain the same with the 15 that we have," Stead said. "We considered a spin option but didn't feel as though we needed it on this pitch that we've played on through history but also how it was looking after the last test match. So we expect the pitch to do something pretty similar.

"Trent Boult is not in the position to be able to be available for this test match, just with his loads and stuff [and] where he's at at the moment. Since his wife's been in the having-the-baby sort of mode as well, he's missed out on a lot of opportunities to play cricket and bowl. And we just thought the risk of him playing was far too great at the moment to do that to him."

Stead said Boult, whose baby has now arrived, was always unlikely to feature in the second test.

"Through discussions that Trent and I had about a week ago now, we thought it was unlikely that he would be right for this. He's going to come down in the next few days to bowl with us.

"But again, you look at what the likely loads that he would need for a test match, it would put him in a very high injury risk. And we're not prepared to do that."

Stead also provided an update on the status of injured skipper Kane Williamson, who missed the first test due to a prolonged elbow issue.

"He's going great," Stead said. "He's right on track for where we wanted him to be. He wants to bat and bat and bat more and more, but again ... the risk we have is we push him too quickly and batting too long and we overload him and he goes backwards again. We're trying to avoid that at all costs."

Looking ahead to the second clash against South Africa at Hagley Oval, Stead praised Henry and the rest of the bowling unit – who dismissed South Africa for 95 and 111 in just over 90 overs – but warned that the second test might not be as easy.

"[Henry's] always been a good bowler and I guess sometimes you need that opportunity to strike and make the most of it. And he certainly made the most of the opportunity that was in front of him.

"He bowled beautifully throughout the test match. But I thought the whole bowling unit bowled really well together and I think that was one of the reasons why we were so convincing in that last test match as well.

"But I also want to reiterate that South Africa aren't a bad side either. Yes, we got on the right side of it this time, but we're expecting them to come back and come back strongly. And we'll certainly be ready for that as well."

The Black Caps are hoping to secure a historic test series win over South Africa and can retake the top spot of the ICC world test rankings with another victory.

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission