MELBOURNE – Reserve batsman Tom Blundell has been confirmed to replace the out-of-form Jeet Raval at the top of New Zealand's batting order for the Boxing Day test against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Blundell opened the batting for New Zealand on Sunday in a warmup match against a Victoria state XI and made a timely unbeaten half-century before retiring.
Raval was jettisoned after twin failures in the 296-run defeat to Tim Paine's Australia in the series-opener in Perth, following a poor home series against England.
"I feel like I can do a good job wherever," two-test wicketkeeper batsman Blundell told reporters in Melbourne.
"This game I've been given the opportunity to open, so I'm really looking forward to Boxing Day."