Black Caps get Devon Conway, Michael Bracewell back for third test v England

Devon Conway sweeps for New Zealand in the second Test against England at Trent Bridge.

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Devon Conway sweeps for New Zealand in the second Test against England at Trent Bridge.

The Black Caps are likely to have Devon Conway and Michael Bracewell available for the third Test against England which starts Thursday night (NZ time).

Bracewell, who made his test debut in the NZ defeat in Nottingham last week, has returned to training after recovering from Covid-19 and his spell of isolation, while Conway would join the squad tonight (NZ time) after suffering the same done.

Skipper Kane Williamson returns to the XI for the final test of the three-game series already won by England, after taking five wicket victories at Lord’s and Trent Bridge. Williamson missed the second test with Covid.

New Zealand bowler Michael Bracewell is congratulated by teammates after taking his first test wicket, that of Ben Stokes, on day three of the second test.

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New Zealand bowler Michael Bracewell is congratulated by teammates after taking his first test wicket, that of Ben Stokes, on day three of the second test.

However, the tourists will be without the injured duo of all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme and pace bowler Kyle Jamieson, who both left the tour after being forced to withdraw during the first and second Tests respectively.

“It’s nice to have both guys back,” leading NZ run scorer Daryl Mitchell said of Conway and Bracewell, who tested positive shortly after the second test, but with the team having time off in the intermission between games .

“Not ideal because they have to be in isolation for five days, but also perfect timing in some ways because it’s our free time.”

Mitchell said he made the most of the free time between tests.

“It was nice to have three days off and spend some time with my kid and my wife and exploring London and doing the touristy things that we obviously haven’t been able to do in recent years with Covid and bubbles.”

Daryl Mitchell was the leading points scorer in the New Zealand-England test series.

Stu Forster/Getty Images

Daryl Mitchell was the leading points scorer in the New Zealand-England test series.

However, Mitchell said the focus remains on winning the final test at Headingley in Leeds, despite the series now being out of reach, seemingly along with New Zealand’s defense of their World Test Championship crown.

“Obviously the World Test Championship points come first, and it’s also a test match for your country,” said Mitchell.

“We are very proud of playing test cricket and we know that every test means a lot to us.”

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The righthanded batter was the standout for the Black Caps in the series after starting the first Test when Henry Nicholls was ruled out with injury. Mitchell has scored two centuries, tallied 373 runs at an average of 124.33 and combined in two major fifth-wicket partnerships with wicketkeeper batter Tom Blundell.

“Of course we would like better results as a team, but personally it’s just nice to be part of this group, wear the Black Cap and the Silver Fern and come out with a smile on my face and try to compete against The Englishmen.”

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