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
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future