Wellington - Right-arm seamer Matt Henry was confirmed on Thursday as New Zealand's replacement for Tim Southee on the eve of the first
Test against the West Indies in Wellington.
Captain Kane Williamson confirmed the 25-year-old was
preferred over Lockie Ferguson when he named the New Zealand line-up for the
Test starting at the Basin Reserve on Friday.
Although Ferguson took seven wickets for New Zealand A
against the West Indies earlier this week, Williamson said Henry, who has 22
wickets at 48.50 from his eight Tests, had been playing well for a long time.
"He probably hasn't had the opportunities he's deserved
and now is a great opportunity for him," Williamson said.
"He's a different bowler to Lockie but has been bowling
with good pace and does tend to move the ball well."
While the Basin Reserve wicket continued to show a
distinctly green hue on Thursday, Williamson described it as "really
good" and said it would suit bowlers and batsmen over the five days.
"As the days develop and the pitch ages it does become
a good batting surface. There's always bounce for all bowlers so spinners get a
bit out of it, seamers get a bit out of it.
"And as batters there's always value for your shots
because there's a fast outfield and good pace in the surface."
Henry joins a three-pronged pace attack with Trent Boult and
Neil Wagner. Regular bowling spearhead Southee is sitting out the Test while
waiting for the birth of his second child.
The rest of the New Zealand line-up was predictable with
wicketkeeper Tom Blundell making his debut in place of the injured BJ Watling.
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (captain), Tom Latham, Jeet Raval, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Tom Blundell, Mitchell Santner, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult.