Blackcaps v England: NZ skipper Kane Williamson doubtful, Mitch Santner out of second test at Edgbaston

Blackcaps skipper Kane Williamson is doubtful for the second test against England and spin all-rounder Mitch Santner is out of contention, with the World Test Championship final looming next week.

The NZ men's side have moved to Birmingham to prepare for the home side at Edgbaston, but coach Gary Stead has been forced to juggle his selections, as he looks beyond to their principal assignment against India.

Williamson missed the end of the domestic summer and the start of the Indian Premier League with a niggly elbow injury that has returned to plague him in England, where he scored just 13 and one in the first test at Lord's. 

"We've had some more treatment on that and we just want to make sure the best thing for him is playing in this match, versus taking a bit more time to be ready and training the way he needs to train," says Stead.

Santner will definitely miss the next outing, after re-opening a cut on his bowling finger.

"He had quite a bit of blood on his pants that came from the cut he originally had," says Stead. "We thought it had healed up OK, but obviously we needed a little bit more time for that to happen.

"It definitely hampered his ability in the match as well."

Likely battling for an all-rounder spot with Daryl Mitchell and Colin de Grandhomme, Santner went runless and wicketless in the first test, and his selection against India may now depend heavily on conditions at Southampton.

Pace bowler Trent Boult appears to be moving closer to inclusion against England, after returning home from the cancelled IPL, joining the test squad late and missing the series opener.

Stead insists the bowling line-up at Edgbaston will be a balancing exercise between maintaining workloads and freshening up an attack that performed admirably at Lord's.

"They've all scrubbed up pretty well," he says. "That doesn't mean they will all play in the next match though.

"We want to make sure the key bowlers will be fresh and raring to go for that first ball against India. We're still to make a final decision, but we're certainly having discussions with the guys around what's best for them."

In Boult's absence, new-ball partner Tim Southee starred, with figures of 6/43 in England's first innings. 

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