Cricket: Devon Conway racing against time to be fit for Blackcaps' test series against Australia

Blackcaps coach Gary Stead concedes he's uncertain over the fitness of batter Devon Conway for New Zealand's two-test series against Australia.  

In the early stages of Friday's 72-run defeat at Eden Park, Conway left the ground in clear pain after a thumb injury, and played no part in the Blackcaps' run chase.  

While X-rays have cleared Conway of a break in his thumb, the 32-year-old won't feature in Sunday's T20 series finale, with Tim Seifert returning to the squad in his place.  

Instead, Conway has returned to Wellington to consult a specialist, and assess a recovery timeline.

Devon Conway keeps wicket against Australia.
Devon Conway keeps wicket against Australia. Photo credit: Getty Images

But with the first test to be played at Wellington's Basin Reserve to begin on February 29, Conway's place at the top of the order is under an injury cloud.  

"There is a little bit of a concern," said Stead. "We're not 100 percent sure yet how it's going to respond over the next three or four days.  

"We've still got a little bit of time, and I think at the end of the day it will come down to pain management, and what he can do in that space to make sure he feels comfortable at the crease.  

"It's still a little bit unknown. Last night he had some strange things going on with his thumb.  

"It was clicking a little bit. At this stage he has been cleared of a break - which is great."  

Should Conway be ruled out, the Blackcaps would be left with a huge hole at the top of the order.  

Despite his struggles over the past year, Conway still averages more than 40 in test cricket and is among the first names on the team sheet.

Will Young has been the spare batter in the Blackcaps' test squad in recent series, and added a vital 60 not out in his last appearance to help New Zealand to a maiden series win over South Africa - albeit batting at No.5.  

"Will played the last test, and played very well," Stead added. "We'll look at those options.  

"But we're still hopeful at this stage that Devon will be there."  

In better news for the Blackcaps, though, Stead says the trio of Rachin Ravindra (knee), Daryl Mitchell (foot) and Matt Henry (hip) are all tracking to be at full fitness to face Australia.  

Ravindra, though, will also play no part in the T20 series finale, with a replacement batter to be named after the domestic 50-over final between Canterbury and Auckland on Saturday.