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Ross Taylor given green signal to play 1st Test, Ben Stokes possible for England

The Black Caps on Wednesday named its team for the match which will be the first pink-ball Test played in New Zealand and the ninth in any country.

Edited by: India TV Sports Desk, New Delhi [ Published on: March 21, 2018 15:07 IST ]
Image Source : GETTY IMAGES A file image of Ross Taylor.

Batsman Ross Taylor overcame a thigh injury to be included in New Zealand's side for the day-night cricket Test starting Thursday at Eden Park, while it's still possible Ben Stokes could be named for England.

England captain Joe Root stopped short of naming Stokes in his team to at his pre-match media conference Wednesday.

Asked if he was able to confirm Stokes, Root said: "I'm afraid not ... you'll have to wait till tomorrow for that."

It would be Stokes' first Test in more than six months. Stokes missed the 4-0 Ashes defeat in Australia while he was waiting to hear if he would be charged following an incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September.

Only after he was charged with affray and then last month indicated a not-guilty plea in his first appearance in court, did the England and Wales Cricket Board confirm the 26-year-old Stokes could rejoin his teammates.

New Zealand on Wednesday named its team for the match which will be the first pink-ball Test played in New Zealand and the ninth in any country.

Leg-spinning all-rounder Todd Astle was recalled to the team for his third Test and first since 2016, replacing Mitchell Santner who is injured.

Wicketkeeper B.J. Watling also returns to the lineup after overcoming a hip injury which has prevented him from keeping wicket in recent first-class matches.

"Ross has been playing beautifully well every time he's walked to the crease," New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said of Taylor's return. "Just the calmness, the confidence and its reflected in how much success he's had this year, but probably every other year as well."

One of the biggest questions about the first Test of a two-Test series is how the pink ball will perform in New Zealand conditions. In a pink-ball warmup match in Hamilton, England lost 14 wickets in a day against an attack which contained none of New Zealand's Test bowlers.

Williamson said it would be important for bowlers to concentrate on basics and not to expect unusual assistance from the conditions.

"There is probably a danger of over-complicating some of the finer parts of the pink ball game," Williamson said. "(The ball has) shown different characteristics within those (eight previous) Tests and at different stages with different conditions of the ball.

"It's hard to look into too much but you do want to adapt and think on your feet."

(With AP Inputs)

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