Conway blow could mean greater caution for Aussies

New Zealand sweating on scans for Devon Conway's injured thumb to add to their injury worries ahead of next week's two-Test series

With the T20I series won, the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy back in their keeping and a crucial two-Test campaign kicking off next week, Australia might examine the cautionary tale provided by New Zealand's Devon Conway and take a revamped team into Sunday's now-dead rubber in Auckland.

Conway's availability for the upcoming Tests that could decide top place on the World Test Championship ladder will be decided by a second round of x-rays on his damaged left thumb later today.

The Test and limited-overs opener copped the bruising blow while keeping wickets in the second over of his team's eventual 72-run defeat that handed Australia an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match T20I campaign.

The 32-year-old received medical treatment on the field, before handing over his keeping gloves and pads to stand-in Finn Allen and took no further part in the game.

While initial scans conducted during last night's match at Eden Park cleared him of an obvious fracture, he will undergo further review today and seems almost certain to miss Sunday's final white-ball match in Auckland with his Test availability also under a cloud.

"I don't know any details exactly, all I know it was pretty swollen," Conway's NZ teammate Glenn Phillips said last night.

Conway engaged in a lengthy chat with George Bailey immediately after game's end where he discussed the damage to his thumb, a chat that might have reinforced to Australia's selection panel chair the potential risk of having Test players involved in a T20 fixture where little is at stake.

Australia has six members of their T20I line-up who will likely figure in next week's opening Test at Basin Reserve – skipper Pat Cummins, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Mitchell Marsh, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.

With a 15-man T20 squad from which to choose Sunday's starting XI, not all Test personnel can be spelled.

But it seems likely Hazlewood and Cummins might be rested given they played in both T20 fixtures in NZ thus far, while Head and Smith might also sit out with auxiliary openers David Warner and Matt Short in the squad.

Should Conway be unable to take his place in the upcoming Tests, it's likely right-hander Will Young – who has opened in a majority of his 24 innings to date in the format – will partner Tom Latham at the top of the order given he is already part of the Black Caps' 14-man squad.

Zampa's four, Wade's snare give Aussies 2-0 lead

Young filled the role against the new-ball last night in Conway's absence, but fell to player of the match Cummins for five (off seven balls) as the Black Caps posted their lowest 20-over total at Eden Park albeit with their experienced opener unable to bat.

"Potentially Conway was a big out for them in that situation," Australia's most successful bowler Adam Zampa (4-34) said after his team successfully defended a below-par total of 174.

"That was almost the perfect start for us, unfortunately for him and I hope his thumb's all right.

"But he's the kind of guy who can guide an innings through and bat to the end, and make that really difficult. So that made it a lot harder for New Zealand."

The Black Caps were already without rising batting star Rachin Ravindra for last night's game after the 24-year-old reported soreness in his left knee after his blistering innings of 65 (from 35 balls) in Wednesday's opening T20I at Wellington.

NZ officials will also be carefully monitoring Ravindra's fitness given his importance to their Test batting line-up, as shown when the left-hander posted a career-best first-class of 240 in the recent first Test against an under-strength South Africa at Mount Maunganui.

Wade runs past 30-yard circle for sensational catch

The dual injury worries are the latest potential Test setbacks for the Black Caps, already without towering fast bowler Kyle Jamieson who has been sidelined until next summer with a stress fracture in his back.

And allrounder Daryl Mitchell remains under a cloud after missing the second Test against South Africa earlier this month with a foot injury that also sidelined him from the current T20I series.

Mitchell has been named in NZ's squad for the two Tests against Australia at Wellington and Christchurch, but off-spinner Michael Bracewell could not be considered as he continues his recovery from a finger injury.

The blow to Conway's thumb came from a delivery by NZ speedster Adam Milne that flew off a good length past Smith's hip and kept rising as it reached the keeper, who was preparing to take the ball around waist height rather than in front of his chest as became suddenly necessary.

'I thrive in those situations': Zampa up for death-over challenge

The same pitch will be used for Sunday afternoon's game, and it exhibited significant bounce when the ball was new and hard, as exemplified by left-arm seamer Trent Boult who dug in a bouncer at Head and saw it 'sit up' from the surface and land barely inside the boundary rope behind the keeper for four wides.

"We got off to a really good start and the wicket, we felt like it was all right," Zampa said of the track that saw both teams bowled out inside their allotted 20 overs, a rarity in the shortest format.

"But towards the back end of our batting innings we felt like it might have been going through the top a little bit, and hard to get a swing on it.

"Then our bowlers, when they put it in good areas, are very hard to score off. We put a lot of pressure on New Zealand up front."

Phillips shrugged off suggestions that Conway's absence proved decisive in NZ's lacklustre run chase, instead citing the couple of crucial chances missed in the field – the most decisive coming when Marsh was missed from a miscued pull shot before he had scored – as more pivotal moments.

He claimed the faltering start to their gettable pursuit in the face of some outstanding new-ball bowling from Cummins, Nathan Ellis (2-16) and Hazlewood – whose first three overs cost just eight runs, including a rare maiden inside the Powerplay to Phillips – was also game-changing.

At 4-29 in the seventh over, the Black Caps were staring down the barrel and continued to lose regular wickets throughout the middle overs before it was deemed senseless to send the wounded Conway out to bat at number 11 and risk further injury in what was clearly a lost cause.

"He is an integral part of our batting line-up and he always gives a lot of confidence to the guys behind him," Phillips said of NZ's injured opener who had his pads on when the final wicket fell.

"Devon's a real team player, and for him it's all about pride and being able to show that he's willing to fight out there for the team.

"If we were in a situation where we needed 30 off four overs and we were nine down, he would one hundred per cent have gone out there and he would have put bat on ball.

"I don't know what he would have been able to do, he potentially would have just scooped his way to 30 off nothing.

"He's an incredible player and he always finds a way.

"Obviously we don't want to send the guy out there and face a couple of bouncing balls when he's already been hit on the thumb, but he was prepared to do so which is really cool."

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February 21: First T20: Australia win by six wickets with 0 balls to spare

February 23: Second T20: Australia won by 72 runs

February 25: Third T20, Auckland, 11am AEDT

Australia T20 squad: Mitchell Marsh (c), Pat Cummins, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Spencer Johnson, Glenn Maxwell, Matt Short, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa

New Zealand T20 squad: Finn Allen, Devon Conway, Tim Seifert, Rachin Ravindra, Glenn Phillips, Mark Chapman, Josh Clarkson, Mitchell Santner (c), Matt Henry, Ish Sodhi, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee, Adam Milne, Trent Boult

February 29 – March 4: First Test, Wellington, 9am AEDT

March 8-12: Second Test, Christchurch, 9am AEDT

Australia Test squad: Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, Matthew Renshaw, Steve Smith (vc), Mitchell Starc

New Zealand Test squad: Tim Southee (c), Tom Blundell (wk), Devon Conway, Matt Henry, Scott Kuggeleijn, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Will O'Rourke, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Santner, Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson, Will Young.