27 Feb 2013

Important warm-up match for New Zealand and England players

12:03 pm on 27 February 2013

The four-day warm-up match that's begun in Queenstown will help both the New Zealand and England cricket sides with their selections for next week's first test.

There are at least four local players in the New Zealand XI, Hamish Rutherford, Tom Latham, Neil Wagner and Mark Gillespie, who are playing for test spots.

Rutherford appears the front-runner to partner Peter Fulton at the top of the Black Caps batting order.

The selectors have also left one spot in their test squad for another pace bowler, with Wagner and Gillespie playing off for that spot.

Meanwhile this is the only chance for the England players to get some playing time in the longer form of the game before the first test.

Batsman Ian Bell says playing in New Zealand conditions can be tough and so this match is important for them all.

The first test starts in Dunedin next Wednesday.