New Zealand's Trent Boult gestures during the first day of the second test cricket match between Sri Lanka and New Zealand in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)
Key Black Caps Trent Boult and Colin de Grandhomme are both racing to be fit for the series against Australia after being ruled out of the second Test against England.
Uncapped allrounder Daryl Mitchell has been called into the New Zealand squad ahead of the Test starting in Hamilton on Friday, which they need only to draw to clinch the series after a dominant innings and 65-run win in Mount Maunganui.
Accomplished paceman Boult and allrounder de Grandhomme are undergoing rehabilitation on muscular injuries to the torso, with a hope they'll be ready for the first of three Tests against Australia starting in Perth on December 12.
An MRI scan confirmed Boult had strained a muscle overlying his ribs on his right hand-side.
Bowling coach Shane Jurgensen was pleased the left-armer was cleared of bone stress damage but said an element of mystery surrounded the recovery time.
"(It's) quite a unique bowling injury that's not been seen much before but fingers crossed it will be a quick rehab," he said.
"We want them to be on the plane to go to Perth, so we're certainly working towards that, but the initial plan is really just rest and rehab."
New Zealand's fourth-highest Test wicket-taker with 255 scalps, Boult shapes as the most likely bowler to threaten Australia's batsmen, particularly in the day-night Test at Optus Stadium.
In his two Tests with a pink ball, Boult has claimed 16 wickets at under 13 runs apiece, including seven wickets against the Australians at Adelaide four years ago when he ripped through the top order in the second innings.
De Grandhomme has a tear to his left lower abdominal muscle, sustained while fielding late in the Test at Bay Oval.
The 33-year-old has emerged as an integral part of New Zealand's line-up by averaging 40.33 with the bat and 29.63 with his medium pace, figures that compare favourably with any of the world's leading allrounders.
Speedster Lockie Ferguson is favoured to make his Test debut as Boult's replacement.
Like Ferguson, Mitchell has represented New Zealand in white-ball cricket and has been a smart performer at domestic first class level.
The son of former All Blacks rugby coach John Mitchell, he could make a maiden Test appearance on his home ground of Seddon Park as a like-for-like replacement for de Grandhomme.
"It's a really fantastic opportunity for Daryl," Jurgensen said.
"If he's selected for this Test he'd probably take a similar role - I certainly think he's got the capability to do what Colin's been able to do."
© AAP 2019