Blackcaps v England: Matt Henry's return welcomed, as fast bowling stocks recover from England onslaught

After missing the Blackcaps' crushing defeat to England at Mt Maunganui, fast bowler Matt Henry hopes to make an impact on his return to the team.

Henry, 31, missed New Zealand's 267-run loss at Bay Oval, as he and wife Holly welcomed their first daughter, but in his absence, their fast bowling stocks plunged to dangerous depths.

With Trent Boult still unavailable and Kyle Jamieson injured, a newlook four-pronged seam attack struggled against England's hyper-aggressive approach.

Normally used as the 'enforcer' among the Kiwi quicks, Neil Wagner took the new ball at Mt Maunganui, alongside captain Tim Southee, while Blair Tickner (with match figures of 4/127) and Scott Kuggeleijn (4/161) made their debuts.

Across both innings, England scored at more than five runs per over, giving themselves enough time to wrap up a first test victory on Kiwi soil since 2008 in just over three days.

After spending most of his career playing back-up to Southee and Boult - and later Jamieson - Henry has often been the one to make way among a surplus of quality quicks.

But his man-of-the-match display in an innings win over South Africa last year showed Henry is more than up to standard.

In Boult's absence, Henry will likely take the new ball role for the series' second match at Wellington's Basin Reserve, a task he feels more than ready for.

"I've been lucky enough to be around the group for a long time," said Henry. "I'm probably not getting too caught up in those external things and actually just operating in the way I like to do things.

"Bowling with Tim is something I've done for a while now - and with Boulty in the past. There'll be no surprises with that."

Matt Henry and Kane Williamson in Pakistan.
Matt Henry and Kane Williamson in Pakistan. Photo credit: Getty Images

Henry's return is welcomed by his teammates, as the Blackcaps ponder potential changes to the side that was so comprehensively beaten. 

A straight swap with Tickner appears the most obvious way to see Henry back in the playing XI. 

"He's obviously a seasoned bowler in international cricket now," said teammate Daryl Mitchell.

"It's awesome he's just had the birth of his little girl. I know he'll be excited to come in and join this group, and hopefully take a few wickets, which will be awesome.

"I'm sure he'll be pretty proud to do that, with his little girl watching on TV.

"He's a fierce competitor, he'll keep running in for you and he'll do the job. I look forward to having him back."

With only 18 test appearances since his 2015 debut, Henry could be forgiven for feeling frustrated at a lack of opportunity in his career.

In another era, Henry would be far and away one of the best bowlers New Zealand has produced, but has had the misfortune of sitting behind arguably two of the greatest to wear the silver fern, after Sir Richard Hadlee.

But missing one test is a sacrifice he is happy to make for his family's sake.

Matt Henry after taking seven wickets against South Africa.
Matt Henry after taking seven wickets against South Africa. Photo credit: Photosport

"Obviously, you want to be playing every game you can for New Zealand," said Henry. "But to put it into perspective and have that special moment with Holly, and bring our first wee girl into the world is pretty special.

"It would have been great to see a different result, but at the same time, I'm looking forward. It will be exciting."

The Blackcaps are currently on a winless streak of seven test matches, consisting five losses and two draws.

Join us from Friday for live updates of the second Blackcaps v England test