New Zealand lose Oram for cricket series decider

Published: Friday, March 21, 2008, 8:41 [IST]
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New Zealand suffered a further blow Friday on the eve of the series-deciding third cricket Test against England when all-rounder Jacob Oram was forced out with a hip injury.

Oram's withdrawal follows the earlier loss of opening bowler Kyle Mills with a knee injury, forcing New Zealand to select two debutants -- 19-year-old swing bowler Tim Southee and South African-born allrounder Grant Elliot.

Oram, who shouldered a significant workload in the first two Tests with his miserly medium pacers, has been troubled by a hip problem for some time and could only take a minimal part in Friday's final practice.

His replacement Elliot will be the first South African to play for New Zealand.

He is primarily considered a batting allrounder but will be expected to bowl a significant amount of overs to compensate for the loss of Oram.

Southee, who made his debut for New Zealand in the Twenty20 matches against England last month before starring at the under-19 World Cup in Malaysia, will open the bowling with Chris Martin.

The omission of seamer Mark Gillespie is the only non-injury change to the New Zealand side beaten by 126 runs in the second Test in Wellington on Monday.

He misses out to spinner Jeetan Patel, who has been brought in to partner Daniel Vettori on a flat track expected to offer little encouragement to the pace bowlers.

Vettori and Patel forged an effective pairing in the series opener when New Zealand won by 189 runs in Hamilton.

England were waiting for the results of a precautionary scan on Paul Colllingwood's left calf before confirming their squad.

If Collingwood is cleared to play, England are expected to field an unchanged side.

New Zealand: Daniel Vettori (captain), Jamie How, Matthew Bell, Stephen Fleming, Ross Taylor, Mathew Sinclair, Brendon McCullum, Grant Elliott, Tim Southee, Jeetan Patel, Chris Martin.

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