CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (Reuters) - New Zealand suffered a blow before the start of the series-deciding fifth one-day international against England on Saturday with batsman Ross Taylor ruled out with a thigh injury.
Taylor scored an unbeaten 181 to lead his side to a five-wicket win in the fourth game in Dunedin that levelled the series at 2-2 on Wednesday, but aggravated the injury that had kept him out of the third game in Wellington.
The 34-year-old underwent fitness tests on Friday and appeared unhampered but had another test on Saturday before play started at Hagley Oval in Christchurch and said he could not perform above 70 percent without pain.
New Zealand coach Mike Hesson had said earlier this week that Taylor would not be risked in order to make sure he was fit for the test series, with the first game starting on March 22.
Taylor has been replaced by Mark Chapman, while England, who have brought opening batsman Alex Hales in for the injured Jason Roy, won the toss and chose to bowl.
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Ken Ferris