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Cricket-Mills and Martin add to New Zealand's injury problems

06-11-2004 , 19:37© 2004 AFP

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Indranil Mukherjee - (AFP/File)

- New Zealand quick Kyle Mills was ruled out from bowling any more overs in the third Test against England at Trent Bridge as the tourists' injury problems intensified.

Test debutant Mills managed just six overs before sustaining a rib injury. Earlier new-ball bowler Chris Martin had only got through 1.5 overs when he left the field with a hamstring problem.

But New Zealand, 2-0 down in the three-Test series, still held out some hope that Martin could bowl again in this match.

After England finished the day on 225 for five, 159 runs behind New Zealand's first innings 384, tour manager Lindsay Crocker said: "Chris Martin strained a hamstring this afternoon.

"We had hoped to get him back to the field pretty quickly but when it cooled down it had tightened.

"His future prospects for this match will be a little clearer tomorrow morning.

"Kyle Mills, his rib crashed on to his hip bone which is quite a common thing for quicks. It's a rib injury but it also seems to be muscular as well.

"He won't take any bowling part in the rest of this match. He's pretty uncomfortable with it.

"At the end of Saturday we'll see what further activities he can perform in the rest of this match - whether or not he can bat."

Mills's injury came on a day he will want to forget.

His first Test innings saw him out for nought while his first delivery in Test cricket was pulled for four by England captain Michael Vaughan. Mills's six wicket-less overs cost 31 runs.

New Zealand only included 14 players in their original squad - an unusually small number for a Test trip where a figure of 16 or 17 is more common - and have been paying the price almost ever since they arrived in England.

Fast bowler Shane Bond returned home earlier this week without bowling a ball in the Test series, his recovery from a stress fracture of the back that has kept him out of international cricket since May last year not complete.

All-rounder Jacob Oram was unable to bowl in the second Test at Headingley because of a side strain, a match where left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori pulled a hamstring.

Oram has at least recovered to feature with both bat and ball at Trent Bridge, despite a broken fight finger.

But Vettori was ruled out completely.

His absence saw New Zealand draft in left-arm swing bowler James Franklin, who had been playing cricket for English club side Blackburn.

Franklin responded well to his surprise call-up by taking two for 64 on Friday.

But is not just the bowlers who have been injured.

Second Test opener Michael Papps suffered a broken little left finger ironically the same injury as that sustained by Craig McMillan, the man he replaced.

McMillan, however, returned at Trent Bridge.

New Zealand called up batsman Mat Sinclair from English club cricket but decided against sending out an SOS to former New Zealand batsman Craig Spearman, now at English county Gloucestershire.

To add insult to injury former Test opener Spearman, who quit international cricket in order to pursue a business career in London, chose Friday to score 341 for Gloucestershire, surpassing a 128-year-old county record set by England legend W.G. Grace.

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