Cricket: Strong Black Caps side named for Lions game

By Cameron McMillan

Black Caps coach Mike Hesson has given a strong hint at who is starting XI will be for the first test against England after naming a shadow test side for New Zealand's final warm-up against the English Lions.

Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor will don the whites for the first time of the tour while Doug Bracewell looks to have the edge over Neil Wagner for the third seamer spot.

Bracewell is the only change to the side which drew the final test , and series, against England at Eden Park in March.

Along with Wagner, Martin Guptill, Tom Latham and Mark Gillespie look on the outer for the first test at Lord's starting May 16.

"It's not our test team but it's pretty close to it," McCullum said.

"We've got a pretty good squad here and we've got what we think is a reasonable XI going out there tomorrow as well."

"The guys that played the other day did a fantastic job and certainly put pressure on the incumbents as well. We haven't battered down our test team just yet but we're not far away."

The third seamer option is the main talking point ahead of the first test as Bracewell attempts to play his way back into the test side after missing the home series against England with a foot injury.

Wagner took eight wickets in New Zealand's first warm-up win over Derbyshire, while Bracewell took seven.

Despite Wagner sitting out the the four-day match, McCullum but didn't rule the left-armer out of the first test.

"He's got a huge chance of playing at Lord's."

"He'll rest this game and we'll see how Doug goes. Either way I'm confident both of them can do a role and it will be more of a horses for courses approach versus obviously trying to favour one person," McCullum said.

"I know the guys who have come back into the mix, Guptill and Bracewell in particular, if they get the opportunity, I'm confident they'll do well. If not and we stick with the same XI then I'm confident those guys will do well to."

Black Caps side to play English Lions at Grace Road, Leicester.
Hamish Rutherford, Peter Fulton, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Dean Brownlie, Brendon McCullum, BJ Watling, Bruce Martin, Tim Southee, Doug Bracewell, Trent Boult.

- nzherald.co.nz

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