Zak Crawley handed England Test debut after back injury sidelines Jos Buttler
Zak Crawley was handed an unexpected England debut because of Jos Buttler’s back injury while there was a recall for Chris Woakes for the must-win second Test against New Zealand at Hamilton.
The pain Buttler experienced during a gym session on the eve of the match ruled him out of contention so his wicketkeeping duties were fulfilled by Ollie Pope, who dropped a place to seven to accommodate Crawley at six.
Woakes was left out of the innings-and-65-run defeat at Mount Maunganui but returned in an all-seam frontline attack at Seddon Park, where slow left-armer Jack Leach surprisingly made way.
England won the toss and elected to bowl first on a surface that is expected to assist the pacemen, at least early on.
Crawley said on Sky Sports: “I was with Jos in the gym yesterday when he did his back so I knew there was a chance I was going to play earlier in the day but I found out officially last night.
“Jos is real nice guy so it’s a real shame for him. You get chances sometimes and this one is mine. I’m disappointed for Jos but I’m glad to make my debut.
“I’m definitely excited, nervous as well but there’s some excitement. I’ll bat at six. I’ve batted there in my first year in (County) Championship cricket, I should be alright there.”