The Black Caps are set to be without star seamer Trent Boult for Friday's second test against England, but head coach Gary Stead isn't ready to guarantee a debut for Lockie Ferguson just yet.
Boult could only bowl one over on the final day of the Black Caps' win by an innings and 65 runs in Mount Maunganui, leaving the field experiencing pain in the right side of his ribs.
He underwent a MRI scan today, with results expected tomorrow afternoon, but Stead said it's unlikely he'll be risked, with three tests against Australia rapidly looming.
"The early indications are it's unlikely he'll play in the next test. He was pretty sore and couldn't bowl, so that's probably not looking good for him for Friday."
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While Boult's unfortunate ailment seemingly opens up a spot for Ferguson to make his much-anticipated test debut in a seam bowling trio alongside Tim Southee and Neil Wagner, Stead is being publicly cautious for now, with Matt Henry also an option, and one who may be more suited to filling Boult's role on a Seddon Park surface that could assist swing bowlers.
"We know the skills Lockie has and the point of difference that may bring to us, whether that happens in this test match or not is still something we need to see over the next couple of days," Stead explained.
"We'll have a look at the pitch when we get to Hamilton and see what that's like. If it's a very dry wicket as well, there's the potential of playing two spinners, so we've got different options that we'll keep looking at and considering. There's also Matt Henry, who has done a fine job for New Zealand in the past when he's been given an opportunity."
Stead was vindicated in sticking with his usual seam bowling trio of Boult, Southee and Wagner in Mount Maunganui, and argued that the team's recent record – having not lost a home test in 32 months – reduces the appeal of making too many changes to a side showing the benefits of selection continuity.
"You look at the home record that's been forged over the past three or four years – there haven't been too many test losses and I think that says a lot about the continuity of the team as well, guys are accustomed to the role that they're playing for the team. If you're ever going to mess with that, you've got to be sure it's for the right reason."