English allrounder Ben Stokes has shown some improved form with the bat for Canterbury, dismissed for 34 in their latest domestic one-day match in Auckland.
Stokes faced 41 balls and struck four boundaries against Auckland at Eden Park Outer Oval in a more encouraging knock than when he fell for just 2 in his Canterbury debut on Sunday.
The allrounder is still awaiting a verdict from the Avon and Somerset Police and the England and Wales Cricket Board about his international playing future following an incident in Bristol last September.
England are expected to name their squad for the upcoming Gillette ODI Series in Australia this week and The Daily Mail reported that Stokes is expected to be named in the squad, like he had been for the Magellan Ashes Series.
But, like the Ashes, whether or not he will take part in the series will be determined by the police and then the ECB.
The 26-year-old came to the wicket on Wednesday with Canterbury teetering at 2-45 and started brightly, forging a 36-run third-wicket partnership with opener Michael Pollard.
He was trapped lbw when trying to sweep legspinner Tarun Nethula, glancing back at the umpire before quickly exiting.
Canterbury finished their 50 overs at 9-277, and Auckland reached the victory target with more than seven overs to spare.
Opener Colin Munro was the key figure in the chase, the Black Cap smashing an unbeaten 174 off just 118 balls as the Aces ended on 3-281 to start the season with two wins.
Stokes, who opened the Canterbury attack, had figures of 0-39 off seven overs to remain wicketless in his two matches so far.
Christchurch-born Stokes hasn't played for England since the incident in Bristol on September 25, which left a man needing medical attention.
The ECB placed him under suspension, but the ban applies only to England matches and it has raised no objection to Stokes playing in New Zealand.
Stokes is keen to keep himself in match shape while his international fate remains in limbo.
2017-18 International Fixtures
Magellan Ashes Series
Australia Test squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Jackson Bird, Chadd Sayers.
England Test squad: Joe Root (c), James Anderson (vc), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Gary Ballance, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Tom Curran, Ben Foakes, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes.
First Test Australia won by 10 wickets. Scorecard
Second Test Australia won by 120 runs (Day-Night). Scorecard
Third Test WACA Ground, December 14-18. Tickets
Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Tickets
Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Tickets
Gillette ODI Series v England
First ODI MCG, January 14. Tickets
Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Tickets
Third ODI SCG, January 21. Tickets
Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Tickets
Fifth ODI Perth Stadium, January 28. Tickets
Prime Minister's XI
PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Tickets
Gillette T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series
First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Tickets
Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Tickets
Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Tickets
Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 14
Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16
Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18
Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21