New Zealand Vs Australia, 1st Test Preview: 'No Surprises' From Aussies As Depleted BlackCaps Eye First Win In Decade

New Zealand currently lead the ICC World Test Championship 2023-25 standings, while Australia are third. Read the match preview of the NZ vs AUS, 1st Test at Basin Reserve, Wellington


Captains Pat Cummins of Australia and Tim Southee of New Zealand at pre-match gather ahead of their Test series at Basin Reserve, Wellington. The first of the two-match series starts on February 29, 2024. Photo: ICC

Devon Conway has been ruled out but Rachin Ravindra has been cleared to play for New Zealand in the first cricket Test against Australia starting at the Basin Reserve on Thursday. (More Cricket News)

Conway suffered a thumb injury while keeping wicket in the second Twenty20 international between the teams on Friday last week. While initial scans suggested there was no fracture, additional tests in Wellington in recent days have found there is damage to Conway's left thumb.

Conway will have further tests later in the week. Meantime, Will Young open the batting with Tom Latham in Conway's place.

Henry Nicholls, who was dropped from the New Zealand team ahead of its two recent Tests against South Africa — both victories — has been recalled to provide reinforcement for the batting lineup.


“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.”

Ravindra missed the second and third Twenty20s against Australia with a slight knee injury but is fit to play from Thursday. He scored a maiden double century in the first innings of the first Test against South Africa. Daryl Mitchell is also available after missing the South Africa series with a foot injury.


Captain Tim Southee said New Zealand will settle on its match lineup after assessing conditions at the Basin Reserve where the pitch usually is green at first but good for batting. New Zealand will decide whether to go into the match with four seamers or to include spin-bowling allrounder Mitchell Santner.

New Zealand left Santner out of its lineup for the second Test against South Africa at Hamilton, using four seamers.

“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.”

Australia captain Pat Cummins has named an unchanged starting XI for the Test.

Cummins confirmed Wednesday there would be “no surprises” in the starting XI, with Australia picking the same team that lost to the West Indies in the second test in Brisbane last month.

“It's always nice to have a full contingent to pick from,” Cummins said. “I doesn't feel like we need to reinvent the wheel.”

The two-Test series against Australia will be one of the few occasions New Zealand has faced a full-strength Australia lineup. New Zealand and Australia only rarely meet in test series and Australia at times has not fielded its best team.


New Zealand currently is first and Australia third in World Test Championship standings.