x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

New Zealand drop out-of-form Fulton for key encounter

New Zealand have dropped Peter Fulton for the decisive third Test against Pakistan, which starts in Napier on Friday.

New Zealand have dropped Peter Fulton for the decisive third Test against Pakistan, which starts in Napier on Friday. Fulton managed just 13 runs in the comprehensive 141-run loss to Pakistan in Wellington and has paid for his poor batting with his place, which goes to Bradley-John Watling. The captain Daniel Vettori confirmed "a couple of guys are under severe scrutiny" after Pakistan squared the series with Sunday's win - but Fulton is the only change to the side.

Northern Districts batsman Watling earns his first call-up to the Test squad after playing in the two Twenty20 Internationals against Pakistan last month in the United Arab Emirates. His selection comes after strong performances in the 2008-09 State Shield, while he excelled in the most recent rounds of the Plunket Shield with scores of 90 and 136. The 24-year-old also toured this year with the New Zealand Emerging Players in Australia, and New Zealand A in India.

National selector Mark Greatbatch said Watling showed outstanding potential as a developing batsman. "He's a quality young player with good technique. With the series at one-all we need to regroup and we believe Watling can add strength at the top," he said. "There was a lot of discussion about the batting line-up, but this was not a time for wholesale change. "We are aiming to give guys the opportunity to succeed."

Meanwhile, Kevin Pietersen has spoken of England's frustration as poor weather continues to dog their preparations for the Test series against South Africa, which starts next week. England were unable to train yesterday because of heavy rain and they go in to tomorrow's first day of two two-day tour matches with a South African Airways XIs having played only three days of cricket in three weeks.

"It's been very hit and miss on this tour," said Pietersen. "I don't think I've been on too many tours where we've actually had two games rained off. "It's worked in our favour so far, in terms of the results. "But we're here to play cricket; we want to play cricket, and it's very frustrating sitting in a hotel room and not being able to go and do what we love." A batting collapse put the UAE under the cosh on the third day of their ICC International Shield match with Namibia in Windhoek yesterday.

The UAE had looked well poised at 238 for three to get close to the home side's first innings score of 369, but the departure of their opener Arfan Haider for 84 led to a slump that saw the last seven wickets fall for 59 runs as they were all out for 297. Namibia made slow progress in their second innings, finishing on 134 for three off 66 overs at the close, a lead of 206 going into today's final day.

Fayyaz Ahmed was the pick of the UAE bowlers as he took two for 49 off 23 overs. The Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi has lost his bid to regain the presidency of his state cricket association, the Rajasthan Cricket Association Modi lost 19-13 to the Indian Rural Development Minister, CP Joshi, who also hails from western Rajasthan state. Modi's position in the IPL will not be affected and he will remain as the IPL chairman until 2013.

Chris Gayle hit his 11th Test century for the West Indies on the fourth day of the third Test against Australia yesterday. The opener batted all day to finish on 155 not out as the West Indies made it to 284 for eight in their second innings, a lead of 296 to take into today's final day. sports@thenational.ae