Santner ruled out for nine months, Watling returns

Mitchell Santner has been replaced in the Black Caps' test squad by all-rounder Todd Astle

Middle-order batsman Ross Taylor has been included after missing the ODI decider - which England won to clinch a 3-2 series victory - with a quadriceps injury, while wicketkeeper BJ Watling returns after a hip problem sidelined him for the two Tests against West Indies at the back end of previous year.

Wicketkeeper BJ Watling has returned to the BLACKCAPS Test side for their two match series against England, which will see New Zealand host its first Day-Night Test.

His replacement, Tom Blundell, made a century on debut in Wellington but Watling is a highly-valued member of the squad and averages 38.05 from 52 Tests.

"BJ is a proven performer at test level for us and brings a lot to the group both on and off the field", Larsen added.

In-form all-rounder Mitchell Santner will miss the upcoming Test series with England to undergo knee surgery, New Zealand Cricket said on Wednesday. Santner's knee trouble is a long-standing one and could come in the way of his IPL stint with Chennai Super Kings over the next couple of months and his County season with Derbyshire. "He's a popular guy in the changing room and he's well respected for the work he puts in for the side", said Hesson.

Santner will thus miss the first-ever Day-Night game in New Zealand - in Auckland from March 22. "Tom Blundell did a great job in BJ's absence and we'll keep working with him going forward".

For selectors Larsen and Hesson, Watling's fitness was the only missing piece of the puzzle until Santner's injury worsened.

Astle's only two tests were against Sri Lanka in Colombo in 2012, and Pakistan in Christchurch in November 2016.

Batsman Ross Taylor, who missed the final one-day global with a thigh injury, has been named in the 12-man squad. "They have match winners throughout their squad so we expect a challenging series".

New Zealand Test squad for England: Kane Williamson (c), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Jeet Raval, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling (wk).

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