New Zealand lose key player to injury for opening Australia Test

The Kiwis will be forced to re-shuffle their playing XI for the important World Test Championship contest.

New Zealand have suffered a blow on the eve of their home Test series against Australia with news that experienced opener Devon Conway will miss the opening Test due to injury.

Conway hurt his left thumb while wicket-keeping during the second T20I against the Aussies earlier this month and the 32-year-old has been replaced in the Kiwis' squad by fellow batter Henry Nicholls.

New Zealand coach Gary Stead was disappointed to lose a player of Conway's class for the crucial ICC World Test Championship contest that begins in Wellington on Thursday.

“It’s disappointing for Devon to be ruled out on the eve of an important match,” Stead said.

“He’s a class player batting at the top of the order for us and I know he was really looking forward to this series.”

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A veteran of 56 Test matches, Nicholls joins his New Zealand teammates in Wellington on Wednesday and could come into contention for the role as opener should the Kiwis look for a direct replacement for Conway.

“It’s nice to have a player of Henry’s calibre to call on," Stead noted.

“He has plenty of Test experience and covers a number of positions in our batting order.”

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New Zealand currently leads the way on the World Test Championship standings with a 75 percent win-loss percentage, while Australia are currently third with a 55 percent win-loss percentage.

Test squad: Tim Southee (c), Tom Blundell (wk), Henry Nicholls Matt Henry, Scott Kuggeleijn, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Will O’Rourke, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Santner, Neil Wagner (retired), Kane Williamson, Will Young

Series Schedule

First Test – 29 February-4 March – Cello Basin Reserve, Wellington
Second Test – 8-12 March – Hagley Oval, Christchurch

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