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Injured New Zealand batter Devon Conway out of first Australia Test

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New Zealand opening batsman Devon Conway has been ruled out of the first Test against Australia, captain Tim Southee said Wednesday.

Conway will miss Thursday’s opener in Wellington after hurting his left thumb in a Twenty20 defeat to Australia on Friday in Auckland.

Experienced batsman Henry Nicholls has been recalled as cover for the two-Test series with Will Young moving up the order to open with Tom Latham, Southee told reporters.

“Injuries are part of cricket and present an opportunity for others,” Southee said.

“It’s disappointing for Devon [Conway] 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.”

Young scored an unbeaten 60 batting at number five in New Zealand’s second Test victory against South Africa earlier this month to help them a 2-0 series sweep.

It is not known if Conway will be fit for the second Test in Christchurch beginning March 8.

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Southee said he would look at the weather and the pitch conditions before deciding whether to go with an all-seam attack in Wellington, meaning the 32-year-old Scott Kuggeleijn could be in line for a second Test cap.

Southee also paid tribute to left-arm pace bowler Neil Wagner, 37, who announced his retirement on Tuesday after being told he would not be in the Test side against Australia.

“He’s a special guy to have in the dressing room, a man who made things happen,” said Southee of the South Africa-born Wagner, who took 260 wickets in 64 Tests.

“You speak to any team-mate and they love him to bits for what he does on the field and as a person. He’ll be missed.”

Australia captain Pat Cummins named the same team that lost the second Test at home to the West Indies in the drawn 1-1 series in January.

New Zealand are seeking a first Test victory over the top-ranked Australia team since 2011.

Australia enjoyed a 3-0 sweep when they hosted the most recent Test series against New Zealand, four years ago.

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