New Zealand cricket captain Daniel Vettori believes the fixture schedule can help his side level their Test series with England after a deflating six-wicket defeat at Old Trafford on Monday.
This clash followed on just days after the drawn first Test at Lord’s. But the final match of the three-Test series doesn’t get underway until June 5 at Trent Bridge.
Between now and then New Zealand have a three-day tour match against Northamptonshire, starting on Friday.
Vettori hopes this will give his side a chance to lick their wounds whilst allowing the likes of middle-order batsman Daniel Flynn, who played no further part at Old Trafford after being hit on the head by a James Anderson bouncer on the first day, an opportunity for time in the middle.
“We are lucky we do have that warm-up game,” Vettori told reporters after England had won a match which New Zealand dominated early on with more than a day to spare.
“If we rolled straight round into a Test match three days later than there would be some guys who were still reeling from this loss. Hopefully, that warm-up game is a chance to get a few things out of the system,” he said.
“Then we can come to Trent Bridge thinking we can square the series. That will still be a good result for us,” Vettori said.
The Black Caps had initially been hopeful that Flynn would be able to bat again. But bouts of nausea and illness kept the 23-year-old Northern Districts left-hander out of the firing line.
“He hasn’t been in a great space the last couple of days. He wants to bat but it just wasn’t a good idea,” Vettori said. “He’s got some cosmetic surgery to have and, depending on how he recovers from that, it’s a great idea for him to get straight back into it.”
For much of the Old Trafford match New Zealand looked well-placed to record what would have been only their fifth win in 49 Tests in England.
But a second innings slump, when they were bowled out for just 114 allowed England back into the game. As well as being a man down in Flynn’s absence, New Zealand’s second innings suffered further disruption when all-rounder Jacob Oram was unable to bat in his usual No7 position after sustaining a neck injury during fielding practice.
Oram only made seven and Vettori said: “I don’t want to make excuses for a poor batting performance but there’s little bits that play their part throughout the game.”
“Guys not batting in their normal positions never helps and taking one of your top six out of the equation, who knows he [Flynn] might have scored 30 or 40 runs,” he said. “But it was a very poor batting performance. It’s on us, not the injuries.”