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New Zealand fast bowler Tim Southee passed fit for first Test against England at Lord's

Tim Southee: Paceman has been fit for Lord's opener

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New Zealand fast bowler Tim Southee has been passed fit for the first Test with England at Lord's which begins on Thursday.

Southee limped out of the tour match against England Lions at Grace Road with a sore left toe two days ago.

But he has since seen a specialist and undergone scans in London and been given the green light to play in the opener.

Black Caps coach Mike Hesson said: "Tim's fine. It was very much a precautionary response really from us.

"We sent him down to London for further investigation, and basically the result was as we hoped.

"He's had some treatment to his left toe, and we're very comfortable he'll be right for the first Test."

The Kiwis must now choose whether to go into the match with an all-seam attack, or three pacemen plus spinner Bruce Martin.

Southee, Doug Bracewell and left-arm duo Trent Boult and Neil Wagner are vying for three spots if New Zealand want a spinner in the XI.

Wagner was the Kiwis' leading wicket-taker in the three recent draws in New Zealand.

He too has recovered from a minor toe injury and Hesson said: "It will be very hard to leave him out.

Taylor tipped to shine

"Neil is very much in consideration to play. Whoever is left out, it will be a tough decision."

Ross Taylor will definitely be in the line-up despite failing to fire in the drawn series with England.

Hesson said: "You get a good delivery every now and then, and you miss out. But Ross is a quality player, who averages over 40 in Test cricket.

"He's our best batsman. He knows the conditions well, and I expect him to have a big series."

Hesson acknowledges his team will have to make sure they handle the big occasion, the majority on their first Test appearance at the home of cricket.

But he believes they will prove up to the task.

"We've only got three who have played a Test match here. We've had a number of others who've played other forms of the game," he said.

"There's certainly a huge level of excitement there - no doubt about that. It will be a great experience, regardless of the result, but it will be reviewed a lot more fondly if we perform well.

"We're very much looking forward to having another crack at England, and hope we can put them under pressure again."