Sears confirmed for Test debut, final call between Kuggeleijn and Santner

The fast bowler replaces Will O'Rourke in the New Zealand XI but a decision on the final spot remains to be made

Ben Sears runs in, Wellington vs Auckland, Basin Reserve, day 2, Plunket Shield, November 9, 2019

Ben Sears will be part of New Zealand's pace attack for the second Test  •  Getty Images

Fast bowler Ben Sears will make his Test debut against Australia in Christchurch but New Zealand are once again debating whether to pick a fourth seamer in Scott Kuggeleijn or a specialist spinner in Mitchell Santer with a decision to be made at the toss.
Sears, 26, comes into the side for Will O'Rourke who picked up a hamstring injury in Wellington. He has previously played 13 T20Is and impressed with his pace during the recent matches against Australia.
In first-class cricket he has taken 58 wickets at 27.03 from 19 matches. New Zealand captain Tim Southee said he was excited to see what Sears could do.
"He's obviously had a little taste of international cricket in the other formats. He offers real pace," South said. "We saw him clock 150kph earlier in the summer in a T20 against Bangladesh so we're excited to see what he's got at his level. He's a tall fella. He's got pace. He's got something about him. Obviously, with the job that Will O'Rourke did in a couple of Test matches he played, again another tall guy with a bit of pace and a bit of skill about him. We're excited to see what Ben's got. It's a special time for him as well."
Southee, who will play his 100th Test in Christchurch, did not confirm New Zealand's final XI with the last call to be made between pace bowler Scott Kuggeleijn and left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner. Kuggeleijn, playing his second Test, was underwhelming in Wellington where he claimed two wickets and made scores of 0 and 26.
Head coach Gary Stead has admitted New Zealand made a mistake in their previous two Tests by leaving out Santner in favour of four pace bowlers with the pitches in Hamilton and Wellington then spinning more than expected.
"Hopefully we get it right this week," Southee said.
Glenn Phillips took five wickets in Australia's second innings of the first Test while Nathan Lyon claimed ten in the match.
However, Hagley Oval has the highest spin-bowling average of any venue in New Zealand with wickets taken at 55.79.
Australia have named an unchanged XI - for the fourth match in a row - which means their frontline bowling attack will have played all seven Tests during the season against Pakistan, West Indies and New Zealand.