Starc predicts Kiwi change in eerie premonition
Tom Blundell will play his third career Test match on Boxing Day after being called on to replace underperforming New Zealand opener Jeet Raval.
The Blackcaps confirmed on Sunday Raval, who has only passed 20 once in his past nine Test innings, had been axed from their team for the second Test in Melbourne.
It came after Mitch Starc delivered a brutal sledge in Perth, telling Raval: "Don't want to ruin it. Last chance of your career".
WICKET! 🏏— News Cricket (@NewsCorpCricket) December 15, 2019
Mitch #Starc told Jeet #Raval this was the "last chance of your career". Next ball...gone!
Raval departs for 1 off 21, his 8th-straight score under 25, and the Aussies have their first.
NZ 1/16 (452 to win) | #AUSvNZ live blog: https://t.co/bUzAMXurIg pic.twitter.com/fFsXdjcBiZ
Blundell played his last Test match in December, 2017, featuring twice against the West Indies and scoring a century on debut in Wellington.
He was confirmed as Raval's replacement after scoring 59 not out against a Victorian XI at Scotch College.
Blundell said he was unlikely to change his attacking approach when he partners Tom Latham at the MCG.
"It's just the first 30 balls. You're going to have to be a little bit more patient outside that off stump," he told media on Sunday.
"If I can last for those 30 balls, hopefully I can bat a little bit more positively."
Blundell featured in the field in Perth after debutant Lachie Ferguson went down with a calf injury, taking a catch to remove David Warner.
Playing for the Victorian XI, paceman Trent Boult had 1-7 from four overs as he prepares for a likely Boxing Day return from a side strain.
The Blackcaps have flown towering Auckland paceman Kyle Jamieson to Australia as cover.
Raval was out twice for one in Perth, bowled by Josh Hazlewood in the first innings and caught by Nathan Lyon in the second innings from Starc's bowling.
Josh Hazlewood is set to be replaced by hometown quick James Pattinson.