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New Zealand set to hand debut to Ben Sears in second Test against Australia

New Zealand lost the first Test by a huge margin of 172 runs and are also troubled with an injury to William O'Rourke, their recent Test debutant. Earlier, they had tinkered the idea of calling back Neil Wagner within one Test of his retirement but the coach Gary Stead had denied any such chance.

Written By: Aditya Kukalyekar @adikukalyekar New Delhi Published on: March 07, 2024 11:25 IST
Ben Sears, NZ vs AUS
Image Source : GETTY Ben Sears

New Zealand have confirmed a Test debut to Ben Sears as William O'Rourke has been ruled out of the second and final Test match against Australia. The hosts lost the opening Test match by 172 runs and there were talks of calling Neil Wagner back from retirement. But it seems they have resisted the temptation even as head coach Gary Stead denied any such possibility.

As for Ben Sears, he is an exciting prospect having already played 13 T20Is for New Zealand picking up 16 wickets. He clocks close to 150 kph almost every time and skipper Tim Southee is looking forward to unleashing him in the second Test at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch. "Offers real pace. We saw him clock 150 (kmh) earlier in the summer in a T20 against Bangladesh, so excited to see what he's got at test level. He's a tall fella. He's got pace, he's got something about him.

"Obviously the job Will O'Rourke did in the couple of test matches he played... again another tall guy with a bit of pace and skill about him, so excited to see what Ben has got," Southee said on the eve of the Test match. Meanwhile, the second Test will be special for Southee and Kane Williamson as they will be walking out for the 100th time in the format becoming fifth and sixth New Zealand cricketers to the milestone.

Having said that, the Kiwi skipper hasn't been in great form with the ball not picking many wickets in the last few Tests. Amidst the massive milestone, Southee realises that it is important to contribute to the team's cause and being the captain, how crucial it is to lead from the front. "You always want to be performing at your best and I think there's no hiding from the fact that the currency we deal in as a bowler is wickets, and the last three Test matches I haven't got the wickets I would have liked.

"I still feel like there's more to it. There's roles within that as well. I have probably not been where I should be as the most experienced bowler of the side. But like everyone, each week you're trying to get better. Each week you're trying to go out and put your best foot forward. Prepare as well as you can to give yourself the best chance and that's the same over the last couple of days. I've done that. I've felt okay at times. Sometimes you feel good and you don't get the wickets. Sometimes you feel not so good and you actually pick up a few wickets. So I think it's just about trusting your game. Trusting what you do," Southee added.

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