sport

Williamson fit for Wellington

New Zealand are able to welcome back Kane Williamson for the second Test against the West Indies - and the batsman's return could be timely considering the pitch in Wellington is set to favour the bowlers.

After rain and a Darren Bravo double century combined to frustrate the hosts in the drawn series opener in Dunedin, the Black Caps will be determined to make amends at the Basin Reserve.

It seems that seam could be the key, too. The Basin Reserve wicket has been described as being as green as it has ever been, though New Zealand are still likely to select leg-spinner Ish Sodhi.

Their three seamers - Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Neil Wagner - are likely to remain the same despite their heavy workload in the series opener; West Indies were forced to follow-on in the first Test, only to then bat for 162.1 overs second time around.

It means the only possible change for the Kiwis will be Williamson - who missed the last match with a thumb injury but scored a century in action in the Hawke Cup at the weekend - replacing Aaron Redmond at no 3 in the order.

Skipper Brendon McCullum admits that because of the nature of the pitch, he will have little choice but to put his bowlers back in the field if he wins what could be a crucial toss.

"If the coin falls the right way then we'll get first use of it," he said.

"I'm confident our bowlers will bowl that natural fuller length and hopefully we'll present a tough challenge to the West Indies batsmen."

Sammy fitness

West Indies, meanwhile, will be hoping captain Darren Sammy is fit to bowl after he played a limited role in the opening Test.

His most valuable contribution at the University Oval was with the bat, his 88 in the second innings helping his team bat long enough to allow the bad weather to close in and stop New Zealand chasing down a target of 112 on the final afternoon.

Coach Ottis Gibson admits the visitors could be tempted to make changes to their XI, though left-armer Sheldon Cottrell is the only other seam option in a Test squad that has now, after being hit by the odd cold, adapted to conditions in New Zealand.

"Shannon Gabriel did not have a good (first) Test. He did not bowl very well, but we believe in him, that's why we picked him," Gibson said.

"He's shown he can be a quality performer, but we have to give him and Sheldon Cottrell all the support and give them the confidence they need to perform for us."

After Wellington, the two teams will then move on to Hamilton for the third and final Test of the series. West Indies then conclude their tour with five one-dayers and two Twenty20 Internationals.