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Conway ruled out of opening Test against Australia

Further scans on the opener's thumb revealed damage from the blow he took in the T20I series

Alex Malcolm
Alex Malcolm
27-Feb-2024
Devon Conway went off after he was struck on the left thumb  •  Getty Images

Devon Conway went off after he was struck on the left thumb  •  Getty Images

New Zealand opener Devon Conway has been ruled out of the opening Test against Australia in Wellington due to the thumb injury he sustained in the T20 series. Henry Nicholls has been called into the squad although Will Young will be Conway's likely replacement at the top of the order.
Conway damaged his left thumb while wicketkeeping in the second T20I in Auckland on Friday. Initial scans cleared him of a fracture but he did not keep or bat after the blow and was ruled out of the third match of the series. Further investigation has shown damage to the thumb.
"It's disappointing for Devon to be ruled out on the eve of an important match," New Zealand coach Gary 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."
Conway will undergo further assessment during the week to ascertain the extent of the injury and the final diagnosis. The second Test starts in Christchurch on March 8.
On Tuesday, Stead confirmed that Rachin Ravindra would be fit to play after being left out of the last two T20Is against Australia as a precaution following knee soreness. Daryl Mitchell is also fit to play after missing the second Test against South Africa and the entire T20I series against Australia to manage an ongoing issue with his heel.
Neil Wagner announced his retirement from international cricket on Tuesday after being told he would not be selected in the two Tests against Australia. His place in the squad is a ceremonial one for this Wellington Test only.
New Zealand played four fast bowlers in their last Test in Hamilton but Stead admitted that, despite winning the match, it was probably a selection mistake. Mitchell Santner looks likely to reclaim his spot in Wellington.
"I think in hindsight, we probably got that wrong the way that the pitch did behave," Stead said. "We've certainly got Mitch Santner here as that option and we'll certainly consider him as well."
Skipper Tim Southee, Matt Henry and Will O'Rourke look likely to be the trio of quicks with Scott Kuggeleijn the only other fast-bowling option in the squad. The pitch had a typically green look to it two days out from the first Test but those who have been to the middle said it looks very good and firm underneath despite the covering of live green grass.
New Zealand have not beaten Australia in a Test at home since 1993 and have not beaten them anywhere since 2011, but Stead said the series represents an opportunity to improve their record against their neighbours.
"We don't play Australia that often, which is strange considering that they're just across the Tasman there," Stead said. "But, look, they always set the benchmark and are current world Test champions and they are that for a reason. They're a very good side. But that's our opportunity. And that's for us to go out and I guess show our wares and we're certainly looking forward to the challenge that is ahead."

Alex Malcolm is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo