Trent Boult is encouraged by his progress as he battles to recover from a side strain in time for the Boxing Day cricket test against Australia.
The pace-bowler has been out of action since suffering the injury in the first test against England at Mount Maunganui last month.
He says he's no guarantee of playing in Melbourne, but he's bowling freely in the nets.
Boult's return would provide a massive boost to the side after fellow paceman Lockie Ferguson flew home on Monday after suffering a grade two muscle tendon strain to his right calf while bowling on debut in the first test in Perth.
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New Zealand lost the first test of the series by a resounding 296 runs in Perth.