21 Dec 2014

McCullum to drop down batting order for Tests

11:24 am on 21 December 2014

The Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum will revert to his customary middle-order batting role for the Boxing Day cricket Test against Sri Lanka at Christchurch's Hagley Oval.

Brendon McCullum celebrating his triple century against India.

Brendon McCullum celebrating his triple century against India. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

McCullum opened the batting in all three Tests during the recent series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, scoring a double-century in the final match at Sharjah.

However, New Zealand Cricket's General Manager of National Selection Bruce Edgar says McCullum will not continue in the opening role.

He says Hamish Rutherford and Tom Latham will open against Sri Lanka, with Dean Brownlie to provide cover.

"This is another series, in different conditions and against a completely different opponent," says Edgar. "In these circumstances, we feel Brendon's better suited to, and offers more value, down the order."

Other features of the 13-man squad for the two-Test series against Sri Lanka include the selectors' preference for Mark Craig as the sole spin-bowler following his man-of-the-match performance in Sharjah; the recall of Dean Brownlie, and the unavailability of all-rounder Corey Anderson through injury.

Pacemen Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner and Doug Bracewell return after missing the one-day series against Pakistan, leaving no room for impressive young seamers Matt Henry and Adam Milne.

Anderson suffered a groin strain in the fourth ODI against Pakistan and was not considered for selection.

The Test squad is two players smaller than the one taken to the UAE to play Pakistan, meaning spinner Ish Sodhi and wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi miss out.

New Zealand Test squad:

Brendon McCullum (c) - Otago Volts

Trent Boult - Northern Knights

Doug Bracewell - Central Stags

Dean Brownlie - Northern Knights

Mark Craig - Otago Volts

Tom Latham - Canterbury

James Neesham - Otago Volts

Hamish Rutherford - Otago Volts

Tim Southee - Northern Knights

Ross Taylor - Central Stags

Neil Wagner - Otago Volts

BJ Watling - Northern Knights

Kane Williamson - Northern Knights

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