BLACKCAPS aim for grand finale

The BLACKCAPS can end their domestic campaign on a high with victory in the third and final National Bank Test match against the West Indies in Napier.

The hosts have enjoyed a successful domestic summer, with One-Day International series wins over Sri Lanka and the West Indies, a Test series win over the Windies and an eventful Chappell-Hadlee Trophy campaign against Australia.

And they can extend their record of five consecutive Test wins against a Caribbean side looking to break their own less prestigious run, of eight Test defeats on the bounce - their worst-ever run.

Shane Bond returns to the squad after illness caused him to miss the comprehensive 10-wicket victory in Wellington.

His seven-wicket haul in the first Test victory at Eden Park was crucial, but fellow seamers James Franklin, Kyle Mills and Chris Martin put on an exceptional performance in his absence at the Basin Reserve.

Stephen Fleming is in line for his 99th Test match at McLean Park and it is likely he will become the first New Zealander to reach a century on the forthcoming South African tour.

In contrast, spinner Jeetan Patel could make his Test debut at Napier, or on tour in the Republic, if selected.

The match at McLean Park also gives New Zealand a last glimpse of Brian Lara, the world’s premier batsman, at Test level.

It is also the final chance to vote in this season’s National Bank BLACKCAP of the Summer competition.

Nathan Astle and Daniel Vettori lead the way, with the final home match of the summer acting as the tie-breaker.

However, the returning Bond is also well placed to pick up the prize, so be sure to text you choice to 2227 at the end of the match to determine the winner of the fan’s vote.

BLACKCAPS: Nathan Astle, Shane Bond, Stephen Fleming (captain), Peter Fulton, James Franklin, Jamie How, Brendon McCullum, Hamish Marshall, Chris Martin, Kyle Mills, Jeetan Patel, Scott Styris, Daniel Vettori.

BLACKCAPS v West Indies, 3rd Test, The National Bank International Series, McLean Park, Napier, March 25-29

For ticket information for The National Bank Series, or call 0508 Cricket.

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