Taylor set to play in first Test

12 March 2018 06:47:33 EST

New Zealand expect Ross Taylor to be fit for their first Test against England in Auckland.

The veteran wasn't able to recover from a thigh injury in time for Saturday's deciding ODI clash in Christchurch, which England won by seven wickets.

His absence was keenly felt by the Black Caps, particularly as he'd just made a match-winning 181 not out to level the series in the fourth match.

Taylor was only able to run at 70 per cent without discomfort while taking a fitness examination on the morning of the final ODI.

When New Zealand face the tourists at Eden Park starting on 22nd March it will be the first day-night Test to be played in the country and coach Mike Hesson, who's committed to taking a cautious approach with the star batsman over the next week, is backing Taylor to be in the side for that game.

Taylor's been named in the New Zealand XI side to face England in a two-day red ball match in Hamilton starting on Friday but Hesson says he's unlikely to play and will instead attend a training camp in Tauranga or train on his own in Hamilton.

"We know how to work with Ross, in terms of what he needs to prepare for the Test match; we certainly won't put his position at risk by pushing it too hard, too soon," said the coach.

The only major change from the side that beat West Indies in their last Test series in December is likely to be the return of wicketkeeper BJ Watling.

He missed the series with a left hip issue and was replaced by Tom Blundell, but he's been in action in Northern Districts' last two Plunket Shield four-day matches.

New Zealand are 10/1 to win the 2019 World Cup while they are 7/1 to win the 2020 Twenty20 World Cup.

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