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Kane Williamson returns but star batsmen ruled out of New Zealand squad to face England

England remains heavy favourites but the skipper's return from a one-game absence will provide a major boost to New Zealand

Kane Williamson 2015
(© Getty Images)

New Zealand faced a huge blow to their preparations ahead of the third ODI against England, after prolific middle-order batsman, Ross Taylor was ruled out of the decisive fixture. Taylor hurt his quadriceps during the second ODI, which England won to level the five-match series at 1-1. Although the 33-year-old looked probable of a return, after training on Friday, New Zealand announced Taylor would miss the third game in Wellington before being assessed.

In his fitness task, Taylor struggled to sprint on the left quadriceps he injured while batting in their six-wicket defeat to England. Despite a scan clearing him of any significant muscle damage, Taylor has been dropped in the upcoming tie to give him adequate time to rehab.

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Less than a week after his 18th ODI, the prolific No 4 leaves a huge void which now puts top domestic one-day runscorer Mark Chapman in the hot seat again.

However, there was a silver lining for the Black Caps as Kane Williamson who missed the second ODI due to a hamstring injury will return to skipper the side. Williamson, who got through his niggly hamstring passed the fitness test rendering him available.

England remains heavy favourites but the skipper’s return from a one-game absence will provide a major boost to New Zealand as they desperately try to maintain a foothold in the series at 1-1 with three to play.

New Zealand needs to step up their batting

New Zealand’s batting is under the microscope. Colin Munro and Henry Nicholls have missed out twice each and need to carry the burden; the former crucial in helping Martin Guptill give New Zealand a flyer during their winning streak.

Some poor shot selection and four run outs crippled New Zealand in their loss on Wednesday, combined with an instinctive and precise England fielding effort. More attention with the bat, a big one from Williamson and early wickets from the Black Caps quicks is the bare minimum required to keep the hosts in the hunt.

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