New Zealand wicketkeeper BJ Watling and allrounder Corey Anderson are both in doubt for the second Test against England in Leeds.
The pair, who both scored half-centuries in the second innings of the 124-run first Test loss at Lord’s, must prove their fitness ahead of the final Test starting at Headingley on Friday.
Watling is rated a 50 per cent chance of playing by coach Mike Hesson after suffering heavy bruising above his knee when trying to stop an awkward delivery on day one of the London Test.
Back-up keeper Tom Latham took the gloves for the final four days and Hesson says Watling’s fine batting in the Test – scoring 61 not out and 59 – masked the discomfort he was feeling.
“BJ is not 100 per cent, clearly his knee is still an issue,” Hesson said.
“He struggles to push off and get a lot of power. He’s a 50-50 at this stage and we’ll just have to keep monitoring him.”
The situation has an eerie similarity to tour two years ago when Watling missed the second Test at Leeds after suffering an injury at Lord’s.
New Zealand’s World Cup wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi is poised to make a Test debut at the age of 34 if Watling is omitted.
Anderson struggled with a back problem picked up early in the first Test, bowling just eight overs of New Zealand’s 230 overs.
Bowling and fielding were painful for the 24-year-old, but he was able to bat in relative comfort, racing to 67 in the second innings.
His absence at the bowling crease heaped extra work on the other Black Caps bowlers, who will be nursed through the next few days.
“There will be a lot of rest and recovery. First test for five months so there’s a lot of sore bodies and it’s a matter of not trying to train too much,” Hesson said.
If Anderson is ruled out, Hesson is likely to boost his pace bowling stocks with either Doug Bracewell or Neil Wagner.