Cricket: McCullum hints at changes

Brendon McCullum expects the Black Caps line-up to be tinkered with for McLean Park. Photo / Getty Images
Brendon McCullum expects the Black Caps line-up to be tinkered with for McLean Park. Photo / Getty Images

The one-day series against South Africa may be on the line in Napier on Wednesday, but New Zealand cricket captain Brendon McCullum is considering rotating players for the match.

The attack was made to look toothless as the visitors cantered to a six-wicket win in the first one-day international in Wellington on Saturday and McCullum expects the line-up to be tinkered with for McLean Park.

Speaking after the Wellington loss, McCullum had yet to raise the make-up of the side for game two of the three-match series with coach John Wright but he already had one eye on the Test series.

"These guys have bowled a lot so far this summer, obviously the Test series is going to be huge for us as well and we've got to be conscious of workloads with some of the bowlers.

"I'd imagine that there'd be a couple of changes, not because of the loss, but more just being smart looking long term,'' he said.

The New Zealand attack, after taking early wickets to reduce South Africa to 3-35 inside 10 overs seemed powerless to stop the Proteas middle order as they chased down the hosts' 9-253 with ease.

Doug Bracewell, who has featured in all of the internationals this season, and Tim Southee, who missed only the first Twenty20 match against Zimbabwe, both went at more than six an over and the pair appear prime candidates for a break.

Left-arm pacemen Andy McKay and Michael Bates as well as legspinner Tarun Nethula may get a crack on the traditionally batsman-friendly Hawke's Bay pitch.

Regardless of the side that takes the field, McCullum knows they have to be on song to beat the confident tourists, who have now won three matches in a row.

"They're a very good team, we know that, but they are playing in our conditions and we should have put up a better fight than what we did,'' he said.

Proteas skipper AB de Villiers, whose classy unbeaten 106 guided them home with 28 balls to spare, is looking to wrap up the series with a game to spare.

"Momentum is on our side and we would like to go two-nil up and win the series,'' he said.

- AAP

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