x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Black Caps send for cover

New Zealand's top-order woes have forced the selectors to call up Mathew Sinclair as cover ahead of the first Test against Australia.

New Zealand's top-order woes have forced the selectors to call up Mathew Sinclair as cover ahead of the first Test against Australia. The Black Caps' batting problems have again been exposed during the one-day series against Australia, and Mark Greatbatch, the selector, admitted that was on the minds of his team when calling in Sinclair, who replaces Neil Broom. "We felt we needed a top-order batter, rather than cover for our middle-order, so Neil is a little unlucky in that respect," Greatbatch said.

Greatbatch also confirmed that all-rounder and captain Daniel Vettori will bat at No 6 in the order. "He has been very successful there over the past half-dozen Tests," he said. "It also gives a very good balance to our side. "It enables us to play the five bowlers we are looking for, whether that is four seamers and one spinner, or three seamers and two spinners in our squad, we have the ability to be flexible."

The first Test against Australia starts on Friday. Michael Clarke, the Australia vice-captain, rejoined the squad yesterday after confirming his split from Lara Bingle, the swimsuit model. Clarke had flown home from the tour to sort out his troubled relationship. "Michael Clarke and Lara Bingle have decided to end their engagement," a statement released jointly by their managers late on Friday said.

"They ask the media to respect their privacy during this difficult time. No further comment will be made." Michael Hussey expects Clarke to respond well after his personal problems. "He's such a mentally tough person," said the batsman. "He'll be fine." * With agencies