(Reuters) – As if a pitch that can barely be distinguished from the outfield was not enough for New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum to worry about ahead of the second test against Sri Lanka, it turns out his top batsman may have a broken finger.
Kane Williamson, who fronted the media on Thursday instead of his captain on the eve of the match at a lush-looking Seddon Park in Hamilton, played down the injury but admitted the digit could be fractured.
“You get a few knocks on fingers and when it doesn’t get hit, it settles a little bit, gets less sensitive, but it’s just something I need to manage,” said Williamson, who scored 88 and 71 in the 122-run victory over the tourists in the first test in Dunedin.
The 25-year-old righthander, who passed 1,000 test runs for 2015 at University Oval and is averaging 88.58 this year, said he had not yet had the injury checked by the team’s medical staff.
“It’s just quite sore,” he said. “I don’t think many people play at 100 percent every day and it’s just the nature of professional sport.”
Broken finger or not, McCullum will be hoping Williamson is able to battle through the five days at Seddon Park and help his side seal a 2-0 series victory.
McCullum is keen that the momentum built across the Tasman Sea, despite an unlucky 2-0 loss to Steve Smith’s team, is maintained as he looks ahead to the return series against Australia in February.
New Zealand will be unchanged for the match, opting to retain a four-pronged pace attack with rookie all-rounder Mitchell Santner providing the spin option in his first test on his home ground.
The wicket block looked a green swathe two days before the test and the side that wins the toss is likely to bowl first, though Williamson felt swing would probably be more important a factor than seam.
“Every surface that we play on here starts out green,” said Williamson. “I think that it will be a good cricket surface but if it swings, that’s when I think it offers more to the bowlers.
“We played a first class game here a wee while back before Australia and it was very green, but it was more the swing that did a lot, so if it’s hard underneath it might just add a bit of pace to the surface.
“I’m sure it’ll be pretty tough early on.”
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Nick Mulvenney)