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Tim Southee cleared to lead New Zealand attack against England at Lord's


New Zealand’s fitness concerns for the first Test receded yesterday. Tim Southee, the leader of their attack, will play at Lord’s on Thursday after a consultation with a specialist about his foot yesterday.

Big toes on both feet are the bane of fast bowlers but the tourists’ coach, Mike Hesson, said Southee had suffered no belated reaction after being withdrawn from the attack during the match against England Lions in Leicester.

With Neil Wagner also declared fit after trouble with his big toe, New Zealand have not discounted the prospect of playing four seamers for the Test. Although their preferred option would be  three plus a spinner, they may be influenced both by the condition of the pitch, the weather  and the fact that the Lions took a liking to Bruce Martin’s left-arm spin.

The trouble with that plan is that it would leave Kane Williamson as the sole spinner and he does not truly cut the mustard at international level.

Hesson insisted that either combination was possible. “We are not closed in our views in terms of who we play,” he said.

“Whoever is left out is a tough decision but we have got to pick the best side for the conditions.”