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Wagner fit for South Africa Test series

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 25/02/2017
Neil Wagner. © Getty Images Neil Wagner.

New Zealand are likely to be at full strength for the Test series against South Africa after key pace bowler Neil Wagner returned to the field without incident.

Wagner played club cricket in Dunedin on Saturday, more than three weeks after dislocating his left ring finger in a domestic game.

He was initially regarded as touch and go to be ready for the first Test against the Proteas in his home city of Dunedin starting on March 8.

However, coach Mike Hesson says the prognosis is good and expects to select Wagner, New Zealand's most successful Test bowler over the last 18 months.

As a precaution, Hesson dropped Matt Henry from the ODI squad currently playing South Africa so the seamer could play Plunket Shield cricket for Canterbury.

The coach says Henry needs to be ready in case Wagner or the other first-choice seamers - Trent Boult and Tim Southee - suffer injury at the end of a busy domestic summer.

There was further bright news for New Zealand's prospects in the three-Test series when wicketkeeper BJ Watling returned to domestic cricket.

After taking a month off to rest an ongoing knee sprain, Watling scored 42 for Northern Districts against Otago in Whangarei to prove his fitness.

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