Bond stirred into action

PTI | ByAgence France-Presse, Canterbury (england)
May 19, 2004 03:36 PM IST

Shane Bond did his chances of playing in next week's first Test against England no harm by taking a wicket in the tourists' warm-up match against Kent.

New Zealand fast bowler Shane Bond did his chances of playing in next week's first Test against England no harm by taking a wicket on Saturday in the tourists' final warm-up match against Kent.

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At lunch on the third day of four, Kent had closed their first innings on 432 for nine declared, a lead of 23, with the home side's England wicket-keeper Geraint Jones making his first century of the season.

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Bond, who has been sidelined for a year with a stress fracture of the back, finished with one for 77 from 16 overs.

He bowled a dozen of those overs without reward on Friday but struck Saturday to dismiss Kent middle-order batsman Rob Ferley lbw for one.

But whether his performance was enough to sway coach John Bracewell before the first Test of a three-match series at Lord's gets underway on Thursday remained to be seen.

Before play began on Saturday Bracewell said: "There were some times at Worcester last week when he (Bond) bowled with real heat.

"He didn't quite have that snap yesterday (Friday) but we are combining a training programme as well as a bowling programme in terms of his long-term strengthening."

Former New Zealand off-spinner Bracewell added: "He had a heavy weights session and a fairly heavy fielding session in the build-up; he lacked a bit of cricket fitness and that is why he lacked that snap."

"It is good to have preparation on flat tracks because it makes the bowlers more honest and our decision on whether he plays at Lord's is not just on his outcome statistically here," added Bracewell, who was until last season coach at English county Gloucestershire.

"He has only really bowled 15 overs in a day and we need to build that up, he needs a 20-over day and see how his body shapes up next day.

"But we want to leave the option of including him until the last minute."

Paceman Chris Martin was the pick of the New Zealand attack with four for 92.

Jones, 43 not out overnight, finished on 101 off just 107 balls including five sixes and 11 fours before he was last man out caught by Bond at mid-on off Martin.

England are due to name their first Test squad on Sunday.

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