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Uncapped O’Rourke is set to play ahead of Wagner in the Hamilton Test.

ICC World Test Championship
Will O'Rourke has the ability to generate steep bounce

New Zealand captain Tim Southee has stated that uncapped fast William O’Rourke has “a good chance” of making his Test debut on Tuesday when the Kiwis meet South Africa in Hamilton.

Southee, Matt Henry, and Kyle Jamieson led New Zealand’s three-man speed assault in the first Test on Mount Maunganui, as opposed to their normal four. With Hamilton anticipated to provide a little more pace and bounce, and seam-bowling all-rounder Daryl Mitchell left out, Neil Wagner and O’Rourke will compete for the fourth fast place.

“He’s in the 13,” Southee said of O’Rourke. “Neil’s been around the group as well and been a great performer for us for a long period of time.

“It’s great to have those decisions to be made. Will’s an exciting talent and has had a little taste of international cricket, and I’m sure he has a bright future in the highest level as well.”

O’Rourke made his international debut in the home ODI series against Bangladesh in December. He claimed five wickets in three matches. Southee described O’Rourke as a “big and tall guy” who is similar to Jamieson, at 6’4.

“His strengths are obviously his height and ability to extract bounce,” Southee said. “Being a big, tall guy he’s not too dissimilar to KJ [Jamieson]. He’s got skills with the ball as well. He’s got the tools to be a very good bowler and someone who I’m sure will thrive at this level.”

“Wills probably played a bit more cricket than I had [at his age],” he added. “He’s got a great head on his shoulders.

“He’s a pretty mature guy from what I’ve seen of him. He’s had a little taste already, so he knows what to expect, but you just enjoy it and stick to what you’ve done that has got you here.”

Wagner’s previous Test against Sri Lanka was almost a year ago in Christchurch. The 37-year-old has appeared in 63 Tests and claimed 258 wickets.

“It’s not just Neil, it’s any guy who misses out, it’s not a nice place to be,” Southee said. “You want to be out there, representing your country, but the reality is it’s professional sport, and there’s only 11 guys that can go out and play the game.

“Usually, [coach] Gary [Stead] will break the news and then I’ll follow up with a bit of chat as well. It’s not the nicest part of the job, but the guys are pretty understanding.”

Apart from that, Southee has announced that Will Young will start in lieu of Mitchell, who is recuperating from a long-term foot injury. Young has played 13 Tests and scored 582 runs, six of which are half-centuries.

“We will have another look tomorrow, but with Daryl Mitchell not being here, Will Young will slip into the middle order. We’ll decide on the final make-up of the bowling attack in the morning, after one final look at the wicket.

“You look at the balance you need across the five days and make a decision according to that.”

New Zealand leads the two-match series 1-0, having defeated South Africa by 287 runs in the first game.

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