Henry to replace Southee for first Test

30 November 2017 05:22:03 EST

Matt Henry has won the nod over in-form Lockie Ferguson to join New Zealand's bowling attack for the first Test against West Indies.

Tim Southee will miss the opening game of the three-Test series in Wellington as he awaits the birth of his second child.

The vacancy has gone to seamer Henry rather than speedster Ferguson, who had put himself into contention with his domestic form.

He's a different bowler to Lockie and has been bowling with good pace, does tend to move the ball well and it's exciting for Matt.

Kane Williamson

Selectors had a tough choice given that Auckland bowler Ferguson had picked up 24 scalps in his last three games and collected a seven-wicket haul against West Indies for New Zealand A.

But it will be Henry who will share the new ball with Trent Boult at the Basin Reserve. The Canterbury seamer was the incumbent after stepping in for an injured Southee in the third test against South Africa in Hamilton in March.

The 22-year-old took five wickets in the drawn match, and has 22 wickets from his eight Tests at an average of 48.5.

Captain Kane Williamson said of Henry: "He's been playing well for a long time and hasn't had the opportunities that he's deserved. He's a different bowler to Lockie and has been bowling with good pace, does tend to move the ball well and it's exciting for Matt.

"He's been waiting for an opportunity and doing all the right things, and performed well in our last Test match. He was outstanding."

Wicketkeeper Tom Blundell will be the Black Caps' solitary test debutant in Wellington, with George Worker called into the squad as cover but not required for the final XI.

Blundell has replaced BJ Watling who hasn't kept wicket for the past four Plunket Shield matches due to a hip injury.

New Zealand are 2/7 to win the first Test, with West Indies 6/1 and the draw 6/1.

The Black Caps are 1/3 to have a first innings lead.

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