Mitchell Santner, meanwhile, has been ruled out of the next game with a finger injury
Santner had suffered a cut to his spinning finger during the intra-squad match, in the approach to the tour, and then aggravated his injury by playing the first Test at Lord’s. Santner, who was the only frontline spinner in either XIs in the opening Test, had gone wicketless in 23 overs, conceding 68 runs. He served up eight full-tosses in that game, according to ESPNcricinfo’s ball-by-ball data, giving up 16 runs, including a chest-high beamer. Stead conceded that the cut to Santner’s left index finger disrupted his rhythm.
“People probably would have seen him open up the piece on his finger again; he had quite a bit of blood on his pants,” Stead said of Santner. “That came from the cut he originally had. We thought it had healed okay, but obviously we needed a little bit more time for that to happen and it definitely hampered his ability in the match as well.”
“His [Williamson’s] elbow is still niggling him a wee bit,” Stead said. “We’ve had some more treatment on that and we just want to make sure the best thing for him is playing in this match first, I guess, taking a little bit time to be ready and training the way he needs to train.”
Stead, though, welcomed Boult back into the set-up, all but confirming his comeback. After the IPL was suspended, the left-arm seamer opted to return home to spend time with his family in Mount Maunganui rather than head straight to the UK along with the rest of the New Zealand contingent. Before the Lord’s Test, Stead had indicated the turnaround for Edgbaston would be too tight for Boult but updated quarantine protocols have allowed him to train immediately after arriving which has advanced his preparations by a few days.
“Trent’s back and available to be selected and it’s likely we’ll play him in this game as well,” he said. “It’s good news for us. Things did change when he got here or from the information we had initially. So, think it’s the best thing for Trent to get out there, get the Dukes ball in his hand and show us what he’s capable of.”
With an eye on the forthcoming World Test Championship [WTC] final against India, which begins on June 18 at the Ageas Bowl, Stead reckoned that the rest of the attack could also be rotated. Tim Southee, Neil Wagner and Kyle Jamieson all had solid workouts at Lord’s, bowling 40 or more overs across both innings, despite the entire third day’s play being wiped out by a persistent drizzle. Matt Henry, Doug Bracewell and Southland’s Jacob Duffy, who is also uncapped, are the potential seam-bowling replacements for the senior quicks. Stead said that they would lock in their XI on Wednesday.
“We’ve got a squad of 20 obviously,” he said. “So, a lot of guys have played Test cricket before. Matt Henry is here, Daryl Mitchell is here, Doug Bracewell, Ajaz Patel…there’re guys in and around the squad who’ve played for us in the past. So, again, we’re having those discussions with the squad before final training.”
Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo