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'Green mamba' could favour Bracewell

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 11/08/2016

Doug Bracewell is a chance to play the first Test against South Africa on Kingsmead's "green mamba" pitch, says coach Mike Hesson.

The Black Caps are likely to change the mix of their side from the one that downed Zimbabwe 2-0 on featherbed pitches in Bulawayo.

They now head to seaside Durban and the pitch dubbed the "green mamba" for next week's first Test.

With Corey Anderson and Jimmy Neesham missing, the side doesn't have a seam bowling allrounder.

Hesson said they had put a bit of that responsibility on fast-medium man Bracewell, despite the 25-year-old having a Test batting average of just 13.33.

Bracewell wasn't picked as third seamer for the two Zimbabwe matches, losing out to Neil Wagner for the left-armer's ability to reverse the ball and bowl short on slow surfaces, Hesson said.

"I think it's a bit early to know what balance we'll go with in Durban, I would think it's highly likely to be different than here," he said.

"Doug's fit, he's training well, he's batting nicely, we know he's ready to go if we need him."

The side was well prepared for playing in Africa, he said.

While some had been playing in England and the Caribbean, the rest had been at a Pretoria training camp, which was very important.

"It's a lot different to a tent in Christchurch, which was our alternative."

Hesson said his side would be prepared for the step up in class against South Africa.

"We are quite comfortable separating the two series... we've got three good days training in Durban to get us up to speed."

Hesson was also pleased with the form of senior batsman Ross Taylor, who scored 364 runs in three unbeaten innings in Zimbabwe.

"He's in an excellent space and secondly playing really nicely, but I think more the mindset - he's in a really calm space... and just made good decision after good decision."

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