New Zealand 355 & 195 Essex 258 & 45-1: Vettori an injury doubt for first Test

Daniel Vettori, the New Zealand captain, is in a race against time to be fit and ready for next week's first Test against England at Lord's. Vettori gashed the spinning finger of his left hand on Saturday while fielding in the Black Caps' warm-up game against Essex and the two stitches he had in the cut will prevent him from taking any further part in this match, or from playing in their final warm-up game against the England Lions starting on Thursday at Southampton.

The injury is a significant blow for Vettori and New Zealand, who need all their top players to be fit and in form if they are to compete with Michael Vaughan's side in the three-Test series. Though inexperienced, Vettori has already shown himself to be a fine captain. He is a magnificent cricketer too; capable of winning games with his crafty left-arm spin and scoring valuable runs batting at No 8.

Vettori's preparations will now revolve around gentle net sessions over the weekend at the Rose Bowl, followed by more vigorous spells of bowling in a week's time at Lord's. The all-rounder played in the Indian Premier League before arriving in England, cricket that will reduce the impact of a week of inactivity, but he will now enter the first Test with apprehension rather than confidence.

"I'm going to be caught short now," admitted Vettori, whilst watching New Zealand's fragile batting line-up fail to impress. "But hopefully because I've played cricket for a long time I'll be able to call on that experience and be ready for the first Test, maybe not physically but by being able to put the injury behind me and get on with it.

"Gripping the ball is going to be the problem, getting used to it again and trying not to open it [the wound] up," he added. "So we're going to give it as much of a break we can before the first Test and hopefully it's ready for then."

New Zealand's batting was in need of Vettori's qualities yesterday as it perished for 195 against a modest Essex bowling attack. The second-innings total left the hosts requiring 293 for victory and at the close England's Alastair Cook remained unbeaten on 21 as Essex reached 45 for 1.

Faces change in the New Zealand team and players switch positions but the alterations seem to make very little difference. The batting order expected to take on England in 10 days' time will contain at least three new names but it is the ability of the Black Caps lower order to accumulate runs when they are needed most, not the skill of the top order to seize hold of a game, that continues to impress. The New Zealand selectors could save themselves a deal of heartache by retaining the same side and simply turning the batting order upside down.

The conundrum is the tourist's greatest weakness and strength. When Jacob Oram weakly chipped Ravi Bopara to mid-on to reduce the tourists to 92 for 6, it looked like Essex would be chasing a small total, but an unbeaten half-century from Kyle Mills, along with useful contributions from Aaron Redmond, Michael Mason and Iain O'Brien more than doubled the score.

Bopara, who has been in superb batting form, bowled an excellent 11-over spell here, showing that he is a ready-made replacement for Paul Collingwood.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Diego Costa, Ross Barkley, Arsene Wenger, Brendan Rodgers, Alan Pardew and Christian Eriksen
footballRodgers is right to be looking over his shoulder, while something must be done about diving
News
The illusionist believes hypnotism helped him to deal with the lack of control he felt growing up
people'It’s not that people react badly to it – they really don't care'
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
gaming
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible