Durham have signed New Zealand international BJ Watling for the remainder of Specsavers County Championship season.

The Kiwi wicketkeeper-batsman will join up with James Franklin’s squad for the final two red-ball games against Northamptonshire and Glamorgan, replacing Peter Handscomb who returns to Australia ahead of their domestic season after the current game at Middlesex.

The 34-year-old was part of the New Zealand Test side that drew their series with Sri Lanka in August. He made 183 runs at an average of 91.5 – scoring an unbeaten century in an innings victory in the final Test.

With a first class average of 39.05 including 16 centuries and 53 half centuries, Watling makes his first foray into English domestic cricket.

Durham Director of Cricket Marcus North said: “He’s coming to us off the back of an exceptional Test series against Sri Lanka.

“With Peter Handscomb returning to Australia we have moved swiftly to ensure we have a high quality overseas batter.”