Injuries threatening Kiwis' ambitions as Vettori inspires win

New Zealand 413 and 357-5dec Leicestershire 210 and 232 <i>New Zealand win by 328 runs</i>
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The Independent Online

In their last first-class match against county opposition, the New Zealand tourists completed an easy victory early enough to beat the Bank Holiday evening traffic here as they prepared to travel north, but injuries to three players may leave them short of a full tank of fuel for Thursday's second Test in Leeds.

In their last first-class match against county opposition, the New Zealand tourists completed an easy victory early enough to beat the Bank Holiday evening traffic here as they prepared to travel north, but injuries to three players may leave them short of a full tank of fuel for Thursday's second Test in Leeds.

It was confirmed yesterday that the middle-order batsman Craig McMillan, who was injured earlier in the tour, has broken the little finger on his left hand again, and the all-rounder Jacob Oram is still recovering from a side strain, in addition to the loss of the fast bowler Shane Bond.

"Whether Craig plays will be down to how comfortable he feels," the New Zealand team manager, Lindsay Crocker, said. "We are waiting for the sensitivity and bruising to settle down and he will have a bat in the morning. Jacob is feeling his strain and still has a little to do before he is confirmed fit."

Mathew Sinclair, who made 74 when he deputised for McMillan in the third Test against South Africa in Wellington in March, has been called up as cover. Sinclair is in England, playing club cricket for Swardeston in the East Anglian Premier League, although the New Zealand captain, Stephen Fleming, said that if McMillan is not fit, the vacancy in the batting line-up could be filled by introducing Michael Papps at the top. He suggested also that Oram could play as a batsman only.

The seamer Kyle Mills took 3 for 51, advertising his claims for inclusion at Headingley. However, the key bowling performance yesterday was from the left-arm spinner, Daniel Vettori, whose 5 for 92 as Leicestershire were bowled out for 232 in their second innings represented his first five-wicket haul since he took 6 for 87 against Australia in Perth in December 2001. He had match figures here of 9 for 152.

"It was good for Daniel to get some reward," Fleming said. "He knows he can still get better but nine wickets in the match will be good for his confidence."

Vettori's victims included Darren Maddy, who top-scored for Leicestershire with 87 including 12 boundaries before an attempted cut went straight to Fleming at first slip.

Maddy had shared a partnership of 86 with John Maunders for the third wicket but an under-strength Leicestershire side never seriously threatened to bat out the day and force a draw. "We had some useful batting practice but it was disappointing not to be given more of a test," Fleming said.

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