Bond heads back to NZ

New Zealand fast bowler Shane Bond has been ruled out of the last two tests against South Africa with a knee injury and will return to New Zealand.

The Canterbury bowler suffered the injury on the opening day of the tour match in Benoni ahead of the first test. There was originally optimism that the injury would clear up in time for the series opener in Centurion, but it has obviously proven to be more serious than first thought.

Michael Mason has already joined the squad as backup.

As Bond is an a crucial member of the New Zealand bowling attack, the news comes as a severe blow to a side trying to recover after the batting lineup was destroyed by Makhaya Ntini and Dale Steyn on the last two days of the first test.

But there was at least some good news for the New Zealanders as they try to regroup ahead of a must-win second test, with Nathan Astle passed fit to play after being in doubt due to bone chips in his right knee.

The second test begins in Cape Town on Thursday.

New Zealand Squad
Stephen Fleming (captain), Daniel Vettori, Nathan Astle, Peter Fulton, James Franklin, Jamie How, Brendon McCullum, Hamish Marshall, Chris Martin, Kyle Mills, Jacob Oram, Michael Papps, Jeetan Patel, Scott Styris, Michael Mason

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