With yet another test nation dispatched, the Black Caps now turn their attention to beating Australia – and they could receive a timely boost in their quest to do just that.

Trent Boult and Colin de Grandhomme missed the second test of the Black Caps' series win over England due to injury, with Boult suffering from a muscle strain near his ribs, and de Grandhomme a tear to his left lower abdominal muscle. However, Black Caps head coach Gary Stead has revealed that both are currently on track in their quest to be fit to play in the first pink-ball test in Perth, starting next Thursday.

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"I'm quietly optimistic that they're both tracking where I want them to be at," said Stead.


"They're both progressing well, which is encouraging for us. Both rolled their arm over at a very low level the last two days, and they'll progress through the next two trainings and we'll see how they go.

"Colin could have kept bowling through the last test match, so he's probably just a little bit more advanced, but Trent actually scrubbed up really well today which was encouraging."

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The duo will have a light bowl in the nets tomorrow, before having a longer training session on Friday to prove their fitness in time for the team's departure to Perth on Saturday.

Replacements for the 15-man squad are likely to be called upon if de Grandhomme can't play, with Daryl Mitchell's first-innings 73 in Hamilton leaving him as a ready-made replacement, while either Matt Henry or Lockie Ferguson – both already in the squad for Australia – will come into the starting XI for Boult if needed.

Their absences would weaken New Zealand's bowling attack in Australia – Mitchell's bowling isn't at the same standard as de Grandhomme's, while Henry struggled on an unresponsive surface in Hamilton and ended with 1-87.

Colin de Grandhomme and Trent Boult of New Zealand (L-R) huddle with their team mates. Photo / Getty Images.
Colin de Grandhomme and Trent Boult of New Zealand (L-R) huddle with their team mates. Photo / Getty Images.

However, Stead laid out the plan the Black Caps have in place to ensure both are fit and firing come Thursday.

"Both are going to have to prove their fitness a couple of days out and bowl a decent spell of 10-12 overs at least, over maybe two or three spells as well. When we get to Perth we're going to have the opportunity for three trainings, so we'll work backwards from the start of the match just to see if they're right a couple of days before.

"It's a real balancing act because you don't want to push them too early either, and then you make them worse, so we're talking with the doctors and the physio around when's the right time to push them.


"We think the plan that we've got for both of them gives them a chance of being right for the first test."