23 Dec 2019

Blundell gets nod for Boxing Day

6:55 am on 23 December 2019

New Zealand have confirmed a change at the top of the batting order for the Boxing Day cricket Test, with Tom Blundell promoted to open against Australia in Melbourne.

Black Caps wicketkeeper-batsman Tom Blundell.

Black Caps wicketkeeper-batsman Tom Blundell. Photo: Andrew Cornaga/Photosport

With Jeet Raval's struggles continuing in the Black Caps big loss in the first Test at Perth, Blundell has been drafted in to partner Tom Latham at the MCG.

The Wellington wicketkeeper-batsman has played just two Tests, both at the end of 2017, and was the lone batting cover in the New Zealand squad for the three-Test series across the Tasman.

Blundell batted at No 8 in his two Tests against the West Indies, scoring a century on debut, and is more accustomed to a middle-order batting role.

But he said he was prepared to play wherever he was needed.

"I feel I can do a good job wherever.

"In this game I've been given the opportunity to open so I'm really looking forward to Boxing Day."

Blundell showed good signs in the Black Caps warm-up match against a Victorian XI in Melbourne on Sunday.

Batting in place of Raval at the top of the order, the 29-year-old hit 59 before being retired.

Blundell is known as an attacking middle-order player and said he would not change his approach too much when he takes strike in the second Test.

"It's just a mindset shift, being a little more patient outside off stump.

"I'll probably try and be the same but it's just for the first 30 balls you have to be a little more patient outside off stump.

"If I can last them hopefully I can bat a little more positively."

Also on track for inclusion in the New Zealand side is opening bowler Trent Boult.

Needing to get overs under his belt, the left-armer turned out for the Victorian side in Sunday's match.

Boult missed the first Test with a rib muscle injury.