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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence