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New Zealand confirm Boult, Blundell's inclusion for second Test
New Zealand News

New Zealand confirm Boult, Blundell's inclusion for second Test

New Zealand have made two changes to their line-up for the Boxing Day Test against Australia with Trent Boult coming back from injury while Tom Blundell will replace the out-of-form Jeet Raval.

Boult turned out for New Zealand in the first Test against England last month, where he was forced to withdraw bowling duties in the second innings after delivering just six overs.

The rib injury then ruled him out of the day-night Test against Australia at Perth as the hosts romped to an emphatic 296-run win.

Boult has finally worked his way back to full fitness to participate in the first Boxing Day Test held at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground in 32 years.

Opening batsman Raval has endured a torrid run in Test cricket since his last three-figure score in the format against Bangladesh earlier this year.

He averages a woeful 7.33 across his last nine Test innings and has thus been dropped from the playing XI for the next fixture.

Blundell, who usually bats in the middle-order, will take up the opening slot alongside Tom Latham.

"He's a positive player and a smart cricketer so it's just trying to adapt to the conditions. It's important he goes out and plays his natural game," New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson said of Blundell.

"He's been a very good player for a long time and he's a mature head … it's a really exciting opportunity for him."

Williamson reassured his players had plenty of time since the hammering at Perth to ponder over their mistakes and come up with a vastly improved performance this time around.

"Perth was tough and Australia are very good and tactically sound," he said following his team's practice session on Christmas Day.

"It's important we learn from some bits of Perth but turn our focus to Melbourne and changing conditions and perhaps not be too reactive to that performance."

He acknowledged the festive atmosphere and prestige that accompanied the MCG Test was huge and claimed the enormous turnouts expected during the match would not have a drastic effect on the Black Caps.

"I guess there's a sense of romance about being involved in the Boxing Day Test ... at the same time it's about removing a little bit of that and bringing the focus back to the cricket and making those improvements we need to."