There is further woe for New Zealand’s embattled cricketers with all-rounder James Neesham reportedly ruled out of the rest of the trans-Tasman tour due to back soreness.

It’s a bitter blow to the Black Caps’ playing stocks with spearhead fast bowler Tim Southee looking doubtful to line up in the second Test starting in Perth on Friday.

Southee has a disc problem in his back, and although there has been no official prognosis from the medical staff, it’s difficult to imagine the right-armer returning to peak health so quickly.

Neesham will bat for the New Zealanders on Monday as they look to survive 98 overs at the crease at 3-142 or chase down the 362 runs they need to beat Australia.