Sears set for debut as O'Rourke, Conway out for second Test

Will O'Rourke's hamstring injury will open the door for Ben Sears' first Test cap, while Devon Conway remains sidelined

Uncapped quick Ben Sears is ready for Test cricket, Black Caps coach Gary Stead says, scotching the possibility of a retirement U-turn for Neil Wagner.

New Zealand have ruled out Devon Conway and Will O'Rourke for the second Test against Australia starting on Friday in Christchurch.

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Conway, who hurt his thumb on Twenty20 duty and missed the first Test, needs surgery and will miss eight weeks of cricket after a small fracture was found

O'Rourke, the 22-year-old quick, felt hamstring tightness in the first Test and was withdrawn from bowling. He could be out for up to a month.

In his place, Stead has called in Sears after strong performances in the T20 series, with the 26-year-old likely to play his first Test at Hagley Oval.

"Ben Sears is the closest like-for-like replacement," Stead said today.

"We wanted someone with some genuine pace.

"Ben's done that, he's had recent international success against Australia (in the final T20I at Eden Park) as well, which was part of the decision-making in going for him as the replacement for Will."

Sears's call-up puts paid to an unlikely return for Wagner, who was effectively retired by Stead on the eve of the first Test when told he wouldn't be picked.

Fans had clamoured for the 37-year-old's return but he has been released from the squad as per his retirement plans.

"We got close to reconsidering a number of things but we thought in this case that the pace of Ben Sears and what he's brought to us in international cricket so far is the difference that we needed," said Stead.

"Neil had a fitting send-off last night with the team.

"They celebrated everything he had done, and Neil was happy with that decision of where he's got to.

"For us, it was about making sure we had that celebration to say 'hey, well done Neil, you've been brilliant and you got the best out of yourself'."

Mitchell Santner will also come into contention for a spot after the Kiwis admitted they misread a Basin Reserve pitch, playing four fast bowlers before losing more than half their wickets to spin.

"We'll certainly go to Hagley and look and see if the pitch there the one we want, and what's the make-up of our team," said Stead. "(Santner) is certainly an option down there."

New Zealand lost the first Test by 172 runs and as a result cannot win back the Trans-Tasman Trophy, which has been held by Australia for 30 years and counting.

They can, however, draw the series and claim much-needed World Test Championship (WTC) points with an improved showing on the South Island.

New Zealand and Australia were the first two winners of the WTC and are firmly in the race to make the next final, sitting second and third respectively on the points table behind India.

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February 29 – March 4: Australia won the first Test by 172 runs

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), Matt Henry, Scott Kuggeleijn, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Santner, Ben Sears, Kane Williamson, Will Young.